A Belizean Wake and Funeral

Our silence has been due to the rush, grief, recovery and finally peace that comes with a believers funeral.

Last Saturday John and I met Janito (Davine’s husband) in Belize city. He asked if we could transport Davine’s body in our truck. Hmmm… this is new. Hiring a hearse to transport the body is out of the question because of the cost and the fact that they probably would not go down the coastal highway. So Saturday afternoon we picked up Janito’s family and went to pick the body up at the hospital. I watched the men carry the casket to the bed of the truck and then tie it firm with rope and cover it with a tarp. The next couple of hours I spent following the truck and then we slowly came to the village. I went first. “Are you carrying the body?” was all anyone asked me. I explained that John was right behind me. He came in and the first stop was Davine’s parents house. Let the Wake begin. At the wake they put the body in the yard and put a fan to blow on the body. Then everyone comes and looks at the body, cries, drinks, eats and smokes weed. It’s like a party.

After a couple of hours the body was transferred to Janito’s house where the big wake was to be. The villagers stay up late drinking and smoking and talking. Sometimes arguing and blaming, other times crying and murmuring. We stayed for three minutes. Trouble happens at times late at night in the village, we know better than to stay around a smoking and drinking crowd.

The next morning was the funeral. We picked up the body outside of Janito’s house. The casket still open and the fan still blowing on the body. They transferred Davine’s body to the church, set the casket on two chairs and I was left with her in the church by myself for a time. I looked at her. How different she was! She looked different and she was not full of life. People started to trickle in and peer again into the casket. The funeral was beautiful. The eulogy was given by a friend and was heartfelt and full of sorrow for a dear friend that she will not see again this side of heaven. Pastor Kenny gave a wonderful salvation message. After the service the casket was loaded back into the truck and taken to the grave site just a 1/4 mile away. The villagers followed the casket. As they were lowering the body into the ground and covering it with earth, the villagers sang hymns. I was with Evangeline and did not get to see that, John told me, but I think it a fitting way to be buried for a Christian.

So here we are. The ones who are left because God still has things for us to accomplish here on earth, remembering Davine and her sweetness. She will not be forgotten. In the past few days God has provided a new reading teacher and Sunday School teacher. I am so thankful for that because it has been weighing on me since Davine’s death. Thank you so much for your prayers during this time. I would also like to say thank you to Cornerstone Christian Fellowship, our home church, for donating funds for the funeral. Janito was so grateful and we are too. We love you Cornerstone family.

4 thoughts on “A Belizean Wake and Funeral

  1. Donna Chapman

    Glad you were able to help this family. We pray her seed may bear fruit on this earth and in heaven.

  2. Angel

    You have a way with words Mel. Eloquent and beautiful. Thank you first of all for sharing the cultural vision and events of what the village is all about. I love learning about the uniqueness that God has given each and everyone of us. And yet the same-you know? Last, thanks for being who you are: Mel & John.
    Blessings. Angel

  3. Jodi Strava

    You have been heavy on our hearts and lifted in prayer. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 comes to mind, offers peace. May you be blessed, may God’s work be mulitplied though you, John and our sister Davine’s life and death.

  4. Mom

    I felt sure the burden and responsibility for reading and Sunday School would fall on you, Mel, so Davine’s replacement is indeed an answer to prayer. Praying, too, that Pastor Kenny’s gospel message will bear fruit.

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