por amor de Dios
-Flash Funeral

I really missed my tutor Sara yesterday when she didn’t come to school.  When she returned today, she said that a member of her husband’s family was murdered the day before.  He and a co-worker had driven on his motorcycle to a remote location to do some electrical work.  While the two men were working robbers came, stole the motorcycle and killed them both.

I don’t understand.  It is one thing to steal; it is another thing to murder.  Lorena my host mother’s son was shot and killed in the last year, for his phone as was Denis Javier, one of the students at the school, when in Tegucigalpa.

About an hour into class today, Sara’s phone rang, which had never happened before.  She said she needed to go to the cemetery and asked me if I wanted to go.  I figured that they probably needed to pick out a plot or make some arrangements or something.  As we walked up toward the cemetery a pick-up truck with a beautiful gray box in the bed drove up.  Sara’s family was walking behind.  There was going to be a funeral.

I asked her where the priest was and she said there weren’t any. As we approached the gravesite there was a brand new above ground crypt.  The cinderblocks and mortar still looked wet, the end was open. They laid the casket horizontal in front of the crypt and after a few minutes when the crypt mason was finished mixing more mortar, he went to literally place the nails in the coffin.

One of the women indicated that someone wanted to see inside.  They then opened the top; Oscar was wearing a shirt and jeans and covered with a white sheet.  They pulled the sheet back and took pictures of him with a cell phone.  I had never seen anyone who wasn’t embalmed before.  It wasn’t one of those situations where you could say, “m,m,m, don’t he look natural?”

They then discussed which direction the head should face in the crypt.  They placed the casket in and then the mason began to finish the crypt enclosure.  I asked Sara if she would like me to say a few prayers and she said yes and now would be a good time.  We moved over next to the crypt. I introduced my self as an Episcopal Reverenda, and said I was sorry for their loss, in Spanish.  Sara then translated the prayers and scripture I could remember from the Book of Common Prayer.  We finished praying with the Lord’s Prayer, which most people did seem to know.

There was no funeral director, no herse, no bulletins, no liturgy planned, they came to watch the mason work as they themselves prepared to say good-bye.

We stood there a few minutes more as the mason continued to place the cinderblocks.  I softly sang a few verses of Amazing Grace and hummed a few more.  About ten minutes after that, we left the cemetery, leaving the rest of the family behind.  Oscar who was in his twenties leaves behind a wife, Wendy and a son, Steven who appears to be about two years old.   On my way home from class I returned to the cemetery and took these pictures.  Sarah was very appreciative, and I was thankful to end my educational experience in Copan being of service to her and God.

Death seems so close these days, not just here but in Honduras but in Ellicott City, Maryland, and everywhere.  It is so much easier to be able to celebrate a life well lived.  The grief of one taken so soon is so much more difficult.  May all those who have gone before us rest in peace and may Light eternal shine upon them. Amen.


  1. Barbara Hudgens says:

    Wow! How very sad, for this man to die so violently at a young age. You are right, here in the states as well as where you are. The evil is everywhere. I am so grateful for Sara that you were there to be able to bless his funeral. I am sure his family felt better for it. Such a beautiful and simple burial ground…Please be safe, hope to see you soon.
    Blessings, Barb

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