HONOLULU — As a pastel sunset spread across the Pacific and mourners wailed in the background, Imelda Marcos stepped away from the casket of her husband, former Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos, and reminisced Thursday night about the fairy-tale life he gave her.
"He was a beautiful man and he has enriched the future. The fairy tale will always be there," she said.
All through the day and night, Imelda Marcos stood by the flag-draped coffin greeting throngs of well-wishers. She was dressed entirely in black, including a strand of black pearls and black pearl pin, ring and earrings.
A Philippine flag draped the foot of the coffin, and the presidential seal was mounted on the wall behind it. Viewers strolled by the black casket on a red carpet.
When she finally stepped outside to the lawn overlooking Diamond Head and the city of Honolulu, Mrs. Marcos said she was depressed not only by her husband's death but by the Philippine government's refusal to permit his burial in his homeland.
"How can you find this man a threat to the national security when he is lying in peace?" she said.
She said that in death, her husband is being denied his homeland, and she called this "cruel, inhuman and wrong."
"If a president of more than 20 years is being denied his country it can happen to any Filipino," she asserted.
A tent and picnic tables were set up in the Marcos family compound, and visitors streamed through the compound's large green gates all day and into the night Thursday, offering condolences and bearing food and other gifts, while the Marcos family mourned his death.
Family members had maintained a bedside vigil that ended with Marcos' death at 3:40 a.m. PDT Thursday at St. Francis Medical Center.
After the death was announced, women from Honolulu's Filipino community took cakes and other gifts to the family, while delivery trucks dropped off bouquets of flowers.
No estimate was available on the number of visitors. But the line of cars to the compound choked the narrow, winding street on a hill in the exclusive neighborhood of Makiki Heights.
While Marcos lived, many powerful Philippine figures came to visit, although the former president was confined to the medical center for the last nine months. Philippine Vice President Salvador Laurel came last February on what he termed a "humanitarian mission."
On Thursday, family spokesman Leonie Tan said Marcos' body will stay at the residence for three days. The family tentatively plans a funeral Mass on Sunday, he said, adding, "After that, we do not know."