Can’t afford to buy tomb

Even dying is expensive.

My cousin, Maricel, was laid to rest in a tomb where my uncle was. She died from acute pneumonia. Her illness had been aggravated by the lack of food and continuing abject poverty she and her family had been experiencing.

She did not have her own tomb. The contributions of money by my relatives and her family has not been enough to buy a piece of land where she would be laid to rest. It cost USD 233. What they did was to exhume my uncle’s tomb, collect his remains and burn his casket. The emptied tomb of my uncle would soon to be the tomb of my cousin too. She was laid to rest together with her father on November 11.

On October 31 she had ceased to live an inhumane life when she died at a public hospital in General Santos City. She died of complications. She never had regular medicines nor medical check-up at the time of her death. She and her family can’t afford to. If she has money, I’m sure prefers buying food to feed her child than spending them for medications.

She died with her three-month-old fetus who never had a chance to born and to live. Yes, she was pregnant when she died. Perhaps, the fetus need not to be born. Perhaps, my cousin’s death have instead save her child from living an inhumane life.

My cousin and her family had long been struggling in abject poverty and even to buy food for them to eat. After her son died from severe malnutrition two years ago, she and her family have instead been ridiculed and humiliated by some of their villagers when their family condition reached local authorities. It is a place where being poor had become a shame.

Those who reprimand them are those who are supposed to ensure their welfare in the village. Obviously though, they refused to take responsibility of their neglect and failure for my cousin son’s death and suffering of her family. Otherwise, they themselves would be held to account–which could mean dismissal from their work.

Even the social workers who had interviewed her after her son’s death had told her that she could have told them first before informing the city’s mayor. The social workers were reprimanded by the mayor upon learning of her son’s death and his family’s condition. Anyhow, the authority’s reaction was short lived. And even their assistance.

Living had been expensive for them.

Now that even dying, for my poor cousin who didn’t even have a descent burial, had become expensive, what is life had become?

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