Upon arriving in Maastricht, a surprise visit was waiting for me. Upon arriving at the tiny airport of this Dutch city, my friend Jordi was waiting for me along with a friend from his work. We got into the car, put my 65-liter backpack turned into a handbag in the hood and headed home. Halfway he told me that we had a visit to the cemetery to say goodbye to a family member of his colleague. He offered me the option of showering, relaxing or doing anything waiting at home or accompanying them to the cemetery.
Although it didn't seem a singularly funny option, I didn't think twice, I erased my holiday smile and decided to accompany them to the cemetery. After all, on a trip I always hope to find new opportunities to discover new customs and situations and, a burial, however unfortunate and sad, can also offer some new perspective different from the usual one.
The Maastricht cemetery, like most cemeteries where the dead are buried and there are no townhouses, offers a feeling of calm beauty. There are beautiful sculptures and the tombstones are spread on the lawn in an orderly manner between large trees.
Upon arriving at the cemetery we had to sign in the guestbook and we stood in line after family and friends from work. Foreigners form a group at the end and follow the procession towards a small open-air chapel inside the cemetery.
The priest began a speech that was followed by a Portuguese fado. After him, each of the closest relatives made a short speech and played a song. They spoke in Dutch and I understood little but it seemed like a beautiful way to fire a loved one. One of the children chose, to my surprise, an emotional song by Tom Waits "Take it with me" to say goodbye to his mother. Personally, it seemed like a great way to pay tribute to a loved one, but on the other hand I imagine that it doesn't have to be easy to offer so much feeling in public at such a dramatic moment.
After the end of the speeches, those present presented their condolences one by one to the relatives. We prefer to stay aside and after a few minutes we left the place. We got in the car and moved our long faces with smiles and began to savor the holidays after this little experience with the other world.