Not So Fast, 1. You Can Take It With You.

It had seemed we were going into the final stretch of the pandemic, with vaccination going up, and infection going down. So much for wishful thinking. Right now, though vaccination is now coming along smartly, at least in Galicia, contagion is also going up strongly.

The fact is that contagion is going up among young people in two age groups, from 12 to 19, and from 20 to 29. Until the end of the month, the second group wasn't going to start being called up for their shots. Between that, and all the end of school parties, especially those in Mallorca, and the binge-drinking get-togethers that act like magnets for over a hundred young people a night, and people are starting to get sick.

The good thing is that, so far, hospitalizations seem to be holding. The youngest are the healthiest in general, so they aren't being admitted to the hospital in droves, like their grandparents were. Still, there are some older people that haven't received their shots, yet, for many different reasons. They are in greater danger. 

Deaths have also gone down. Still, I doubt that any of those that might die in the following days or weeks, will buy the coffin on view in the funeral home in nearby Ribeira. 

Funeral homes here are not family affairs, but, rather, run by insurance companies that have every necessary certification. When a person dies, the family contacts the company, and arrangements are made. Every funeral home (Mortuary, tanatorio, which comes from Greek thanatos (death) and Latin torium (place).), has a room in which caskets are kept to show families. There are those, cheaper ones, that are covered by insurance, and then there are showier ones that come out of one's pocket. 

Well, there's one in Ribeira's mortuary that is not for everyone's pocket. It costs €30,000, weighs over a hundred kilos, and is made of 24 karat gold. 

The sad part is that someone will probably buy it.

With time, other gold caskets will be exhibited in other mortuaries the company owns, as well as others made of noble woods, and inlaid with leather and mother-of-pearl. Their prices will range from about 5 to 10,000 euros. Yup, death is big business.

Really, I admire the Jewish and the Islamic views of death. In Judaism (traditional, at least), a person is dressed in a shroud and buried in a simple coffin, as a reminder that, in death, we are all equal. The same in Islam, which even tends to dispense with a coffin altogether. Christians have elevated death to a multi-million euro business, forcing people to buy burial insurance plans, or risk declaring bankruptcy if something goes horribly wrong.

The moment to show a person how much you love them is while they're alive. After death, they could be buried in a gold coffin, lined with rubies and diamonds, dressed in a mink coat, and an Armani suit, and they could care less. Or, the deceased might be looking down on those that had "loved" him, and he might be saying, "You had all that money squirreled away, yet you wouldn't take me out to eat last week at my favorite place one last time because it was out of budget? You're a special kind of bastard, aren't you?"

Life continues.    



  1. "CHRISTIANS" have elevated death to a multi-million euro business, forcing people to buy burial insurance plans, or risk declaring bankruptcy if something goes horribly wrong.????????????

    1. Let's say, Western society, in which Christianity is the majority religious group. Integrated into Orthodox Judaism and Islam is the prohibition of showing off wealth at a funeral, especially for the deceased and his family. Christianity never had rules about how a person should be buried, so it has become like weddings; let's see who can show off the most.

      It is quite expensive to bury and gather together all the different forms that are necessary. A simple casket can cost around a thousand euros. Renting a room in the mortuary twenty years ago cost 80,000 pesetas, 480 euros of that time. At that time, my husband's monthly salary was 100,000 pesetas. Add flowers, priest, pall bearers, and services that a mortuary can provide to non-subscribers for a fee, and it's a lot of money for many people living paycheck to paycheck.

      Yes, there are other cultures where there is also ostentation at burials, such as the Chinese, but I focused on our culture.


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