The coffin in the back of the pick up truck
The Despedida (saying goodbye)
Scott and Mercedes reading scripture at the graveside
cementing the coffin into the wall
Yesterday Maria passed away. She was Mercedes' grandmother, Mercedes is one of our teenagers at church and like her grandmother she is originally from the community in Huambutio. Our ladies' bible study group had been praying for her since she had thyroid cancer and in her last days could hardly breathe. (There is no hospice or palliative care available in Cusco) The funeral was held the following day firstly in the family home. Then the coffin was placed in the wall in the cementary in Huambutio. Today (23 hrs after she died) Scott conducted the service in Huambutio.
What a difference to funerals we have attended in England:
-We started late.
-We kissed everyone present at the funeral to greet them whether we knew them or not.
-Dogs and people wandered in and out of the service in the house.
-We sat precariously in the house on very wobbly long benches.Scott decided it was best not to sit down!
-The coffin was transported in the back of a pick up truck.
-We felt the hot sun burn us as we stood and watched the coffin being cemented into the wall in the family plot.
-The graveyard was surrounded by impressive green mountains, there were beautiful wild flowers with humming birds flying around!
And yet there were many similarities , people grieved, people gave thanks for Maria's life, members of the community joined family members and friends in celebrating her life and God's words of comfort were preached and prayed ! So in some ways it wasn't so different after all.