Good Grief

by jw321

An elderly lady, wailing at the top of her lungs, staggered slowly alongside the church.  Her left arm kept constant contact with the wall as her body bobbed back and forth.  Her right arm waved outstretched.  On one of the upswings, a group of young ladies brushed by.  I’d swear shoulders touched except nobody stopped, no heads turned.  The old lady kept wailing and waving, and the girls kept chatting and checking their cell phones.  All followed the hearse to the gravesite.

Not sure why this is what I remember most about my first Haitian funeral yesterday.  It was a strange affair, the church packed to overflowing.  Some were shrieking, some were laughing, and some couldn’t decide which side of the fence to sit on.  I couldn’t really make sense of what was happening, so I wandered behind the church (we had gotten there late and were standing outside).

Some kids were playing by a cistern collecting rain water.  We became friends.


I asked the boy in a blue superman shirt why he didn’t smile in the first picture.  With his cracker-crumbed face looking incredulous, he said in a scratchy voice, “Mwen menm?” (Who me?)  We tried again, but the crackers still won round two.  That was my favorite memory of the day.