So this week, I was informed that my host Dad was in the cemetery helping to dig a whole for someone who passed away that previous night. Apparently, the man who passed away was 38 and he died of something happening to his heart because he had just bought a TV and was so excited his heart stopped working. Yes, I was told this story in complete seriousness, it was hard to not have a reaction.
I commented that 38 was very young for someone to die of heart trouble, and again, I was faced with the grave explanation of the TV again. Sometimes I think I ask those kinds of questions just to be sure my Spanish wasn’t too rusty and I heard it right. Other times I ask those questions because I am so completely shocked at the justification I have to hear it again.
Later that night, my host Dad got all dolled up, and my sisters started coming down hard on him about drinking, so I just figured he was going to a drinking circle or something. Since it has been the week between Christmas and New Years I just thought there was continuous celebration. But apparently no, my host Dad was going to the viewing of the dead man. The way I understood viewings as well is that they deceased person is placed on a table in the living room for 2 days and people come and pay their respects at the household, this sometimes includes drinking in the same room as the body. This whole concept really disturbs me, because I live in the middle of nowhere so I know during this time the body isn’t preserved, and during the day, the temperatures can get incredibly hot. So I asked my host sister and answer I already knew, wouldn’t the body stink. She told me that yes, but probably not this guy because it was a heart problem. But another guy who had stomach issues and after he died his stomach was swollen and his nose had bleed, apparently he stunk really really bad.
This whole thing bothers me so much. How can you watch someone you love decay right in front of you. I think the hardest part of someone passing is the viewing anyway, and then to have that inside you house. It just doesn’t feel right. But it also allows me to see how different these people view death. I believe them having that person in their living room allows them a little more time to say goodbye, and their love and devotion helps them overlook the smells and the strangeness that death brings.
I was hoping to see the funeral precession, or however that works here, but as of today I haven’t seen it. I sure hope that it has happened because it has been 6 days since the man passed away. I am sure they have put him somewhere else by now.