This has been a hectic two weeks, maybe even the past month and I have met with numerous families but I have to write about the family I met with today. You've heard me say that I know that the cost of a funeral is too high and I really can't say when the prices became so outrageous, but they have and they are.
Today's family was a young group; I couldn't tell the ages of the parents but they have a just teen aged son, a 6 year old daughter, a 4 year old daughter and their stillborn daughter. I know the ages of the children because they were the first to arrive with an adult friend of their parents and while we waited for their parents we talked and joked about ages and spelling and mainly little kid stuff.
When their parents came in they had an entire group of their friends with them; one of which turned out to be the interpreter. See, they are Mexican and do not speak English well enough to understand all that we had to discuss, although their children spoke perfect English. Since I don't speak Spanish well enough either we were very fortunate to have a bi-lingual amongst us.
They had just lost their baby and on top of their feelings of loss they were also faced with what I'm sure were uncomfortable feelings having to deal with me; perhaps wondering what I was saying before they heard it translated into Spanish as I myself wondered the same only in reverse. As it turned out this family was not from the town I'm in and at first I had no idea why they had come to me.
I have dealt with many Mexican families before, both handling losses of children as well as adults who we have shipped back to Mexico for burial. In doing this in the past I have come to learn that there is usually very little money available for a funeral. There have been many times when the Mexican Consulate has been involved and quite often they pay a small portion of the funeral that takes place on American soil. When there is no other money to be had I accept what they have, sometimes nothing.
The interpreter told me that this particular family came to me because they knew of me. Knew of me? How on earth could they know of me? I actually asked those questions. The answer I received was on the lines of: "the Mexican community is very close and what you have done in the past to assist others has spread far, you have a reputation for helping us when others won't". At first this sounded great, wow, what a boost to my ego but as I was listening I was also thinking. So have they heard that I'm a sap? A pushover? Someone who will give you what you want for nothing if you claim poverty?
I didn't ask these questions nor will I; perhaps I don't want to know the real answers. Maybe I am a pushover, but I'd do it for anyone if I felt they needed it, it actually makes me feel good. Maybe deep down I'm really doing it for me but It's not hurting anyone it's only helping. Anyway, we are going to cremate the baby and it will cost me nothing but my time and some propane. It will cost them nothing but.....well, nothing; they were extremely grateful. I know they don't have much and have a family to try to raise, and we can afford it. So why shouldn't I just do it?