Just got back from an internment.
The father of a friend of ours died yesterday and the burial was today. Antonio (our friend) is from El Recreo. His father Julio (the deceased) was from Montañita (both about a half hour from here).
The procession had to pass the Pastoral House so we waited to join them as they went by. They came from Montañita and were going to Alegria.
The procession of truck loads of people arrived about 9:30 and we were ready. The truck was on the street ready to go. We all hopped in and joined the caravan. It so happened that Antonio was hanging onto the back bumper of one of the large cattle trucks full of people. We invited him to join us. Blanca squeezed into the back of the cab with Cecilia and Miguel and Antonio sat up front with me. I’m glad the timing was right. We might not have seen him had we joined the caravan sooner … or even a couple cars later.
There were at least 4 large truck loads of people (at least 40 per truck) and probably 20 smaller trucks and cars. All full of people. Don Julio was well loved.
It took about 30 minutes to get to Alegria. Normally, it is a 10 minute ride. But we were following the casket, so we traveled slowly and with respect. Most of the vehicles headed straight down to the cemetery, but Antonio needed to go to the church first so we took him and waited while he spoke to the priest. Then we also made our way down the hill to the cemetery.
It had been raining all night and was still quite cloudy (and being so high up in the mountains, we were often in the clouds). And it sprinkled off and on. Everything was a muddy mess of course. We parked and found our way with all the others to the gravesite.
The casket was already there as were most of the family and seemingly most of El Recreo and Montañita!
The tradition here for many is to wait for the casket to be lowered into the grave and then for the friends of the family to cover it back over with dirt. Just before it got lowered, a small group of women started singing. (Pescador de Hombres – Lord, You Have Come to the Lakeshore – one of my favorites). When that song was over, Jesus said a few prayers and a short reflection. Then he sang. He sang alone and it was quite beautiful. Normally people join in when a song starts. No one did for this one. When the song was done, the men (about 10 of them) carefully lowered the casket into the grave using only man power and two lengths of rope to guide it down gently. And then they started to shovel the dirt taking turns among them. It took at least 45 minutes. The whole time it was being covered, everyone sang again. Just a variety of songs. When this was all done, Antonio (the deceased man's son) thanked everyone for being there and invited all to the first of the 9 rosaries which will start this afternoon.
Entre tus manos, está mi vida Señor. Into your hands, is my life Lord
Entre tus manos pongo mi existir Into your hands I put my existance
Hay que morir para vivir One has to die to live
Entre tus manos pongo yo mi ser. Into your hands I put my life
Si el grano de trigo no muere, If a grain of wheat does not die
Si no muere, solo quedará. It it doesn't die, it will only stay
Pero si muere en abundancia dará but if it dies, in abundance it will give
Es mi anhelo, mi anhelo creciente, It is my longing, my growing longing
Cual surco contigo morir In some trench with you to die
Y fecunda será la simiente, Señor, and fertile will be the seed, Lord
Revestida de eterno vivir. Clothed with eternal life