In September, we met a man named Marvin, relatively young only 34 years, who lived in the village of El Paraiso. He joined our carpentry class along with his brother Freddy.
It was refreshing to have him around. He was dependable, conscientious, eager to learn, kind, and he was witty. But, his presence in class was a mere 3 weeks. He was beginning to get tired very easily and too weak to want to walk the short distance to the school. We discovered that he had the disease that is dreaded in this country - renal failure.
At first, Preston was able to stop by the house, that Marvin shared with his mother, to have brief conversations with him. All too soon, whenever Preston would stop by to check up on Marvin's progress, he found him asleep.
The family put up a hammock under the trees across the street from his house. It was breezy and cooler to be out of the hot, stuffy house. However, because of Marvin's deteriorating health, he was cold at the same time.
It was 12 short weeks from the first day of school to his passing. His death hit us hard for several reasons. He was the 2nd person that we knew in Nicaragua who had died. He was young and there was so much life that he should have been able to live. He died of a disease that hasn't been diagnosed as to the actual cause; lots of theories. He died for lack of medical care that was beyond the means of his family. He died and there wasn't enough time to spend with him; we are going to miss him.
Funerals in Nicaragua are fast. A person is buried within 24 hours. The body remains in the home until it is transported to the cemetery. Neighbors and extended relatives come quickly to the aid of the grieving family to offer assistance in so many ways. They combine their money to help with the costs of buying a casket and other funeral expenses. They sit with the family all night; the body is NEVER left unattended. Through the night, friends dug the hole and poured concrete for a crypt to be the final resting place for the casket.
Depending on the length of the journey from the home to the cemetery, the casket is either walked through the streets or carried on a cart or vehicle to the cemetery. In Marvin's case, the casket was carried to the church for a final service. Afterwards it was put in the back of a truck while family and friends boarded a bus to take them to the cemetery some distance from El Paraiso.
It was no surprise that Marvin was going to die, but his death came much too quickly. His mother and his brother grieved for him; they weren't ready to lose him. As I said, he was young, he was kind, he was witty and I'm sure so very loving. There are no words to speak to them to ease their pain right now.
We all know that he is in a better place. Jesus has welcomed him to his eternal home. Never again will Marvin be in pain. We are told that there is no sorrow in Heaven, so I have to believe that he doesn't miss his family but anticipates the day when they will be reunited.