Day of the Dead

I should be writing my NaNo entry. Instead, I’m jotting some random stuff in this blog that no one reads, because all of its contents are crap. I’ve also just spent the last two hours playing “Starbound.” Yes, today was a productive day.

Anyhow:

I never thought visiting the cemetery could have been fun.

It is a longstanding tradition in this country that every first of November that people visit their loved ones, buried six-feet-below. So, my grandparents always took me out and brought me to the cemetery, armed with rosaries and candles. Many cemeteries are found in tight spots and you can imagine the chaos when hundreds of cars try to get in and out through the gate, and into two-three-lane road, with thousands more of people blocking pathways like bad cholesterol.

When we did got into the cemetery. We drove downhill, curving along the road, finding an ancient and authentic World World II cannon on display, past family mausoleums, and more road ahead. I can’t tell how much farther exactly. But I can tell you finding a parking spot is a bitch. After which, we walk begin to trek on foot, between a mausoleum and tombs stacked on top of each other, going through high grass with the risk of getting bitten by a snake and full of itchy critters swinging about, only after all that, we would find the family’s tombs. A cemented platform, stacked on top of each other much like majority of the graves around, because land is expensive, and putting another family member on top of other costs no extra charges to the land we already own.

My great-great grandmother was buried there, with her son-in-law, including a child less than a year-old, on the side. The cemetery has long become a squatter area, where informal settlers had converted most of the mausoleum rooftops into makeshift houses. While my grandmother fixed candles and readied prayer books, my grandfather would call one of the squatters, one we already know, to cut the overgrowth and the vines that had crept up and around the tombs. We’d pray and then go home, braving the chaos all over again. These days my grandfather has taken the habit to break tradition and visit a week or two before or after November 1st. There were less people visiting then. He’d always tell me, as we drove home, every year, that in his time, when only his grandmother was buried there, the land around the tomb was an expanse of bright green grass. I believe there were eight of them siblings, and they camped and had picnics beside the tomb.

Earlier today I experienced that. My wife and I traveled to her province where we met with her family and we visited the grave of her recently passed away grandmother. Each grave was shaded with a high or low tents, some were massive, and some were small, bursting in colors. My wife’s family had a picnic, so did everyone else visiting the cemetery. They brought juice tanks, chicken, and whatnot. It was, a festival of sorts. The day wore on, more people came in, relatives meeting after a year, and catching up. Children were running around, playing some outdoor games I’ve had thought faded away.

Besides the scorching sun and the bugs. It was a fine day and it was fun, simply to reconnect with relatives, and rejoice in the comfort of each other, missing loved ones as a family.

That’s all I really got to say. I’ll work on my NaNoWriMo entry now.

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