When you can no longer hear yourself pray in a cemetery, there is an evil scarier than we can imagine, that is at work.
My family and I were praying at the grave of my lolo. But above the amens, were the melodies of the Nestle ice cream carts that become more annoying when two or more of them are within earshot, and their syncing is just way off. The multitudes of people bringing pots, pans, banigs, candles, flowers, and coming in by droves. The bells of those selling buck sherbets. The booths that seem to occupy bigger and bigger spaces every year, frying hotdogs and siomai, calling out to people to buy. I shudder to think how the cemeteries in other parts of the country fared.
It all just smelled more like a school fair than of anything that reeked of solemnity.
You can blame commerce. Or the Pinoy penchant for turning anything into a party. Or both.
But what is it doing to us? That might be more important.
It robs us of a chance to sit (or stand) still. And think. Hard. About death. Which of course makes us think about life.
Now the jolly people of our world may caution me and make jokes about my seeming desire to be morbid. No, in fact, I want to do the opposite. I want us to remember how to really reflect about life.
This is one day in the year dedicated to remembering our dead loved ones, their legacy, and how they impact/ed our lives, and what we’re going to do with that. This is one moment to be still and stare death in the face, to remind us of our own physical bodies’ finity. That we are all time bound. That we ought to think about where we’re going to go after the final buzzer sounds. Or what we’re doing with the remaining time on the game clock.