I thought it was a pretty normal funeral. Actually, everything went splendidly. But it was quite different from a normal Peruvian funeral, so it took a lot of patient explaining that we were doing things the way we did. In Peru, when someone dies, usually the body is left in the house and put on display ensconced in curtains and shiny pillars. People come and visit, usually whispering quietly. We had the undertaker take Amy's body to the funeral home shortly after she died on Thursday night and Friday we had an open house and I estimate 75 people came and visited in a house that was far from quiet. All of the kids had friends come and visit, and they entertained themselves around the house while the adults visited. The other SIM missionaries took shifts keeping the kitchen hopping and the dining room full of inviting sandwiches and goodies. We chased everyone out at 5:30 pm and went out for pizza at Papa John's and went to bed exhausted.
This morning we finished printing out the funeral programs and delivered the flowers to the Family Focus Center. We all dressed in black and went over to the center at 10 am. The funeral home brought Amy in a glass-enclosed casket at 10:30, about 30 minutes later than planned. I wasn't getting nervous yet. But at 11 am, the funeral starting time, only about 40 people were there.
Now I was starting to get concerned. Was a funeral for and by foreigners too strange and scary to attend? What are we going to do with food for 300 people? But suddenly, lots of people started showing up and we started about 20 minutes late. By noon almost all of the 250 chairs were filled, and all were filled by the end of the service with a comfortable number standing in the back. It was such a nice service, with a song by the other missionaries, stories shared by many, and a succinct message by the pastor on salvation. The facilities were super, with great music and sound and it wasn't too hot despite the sun beating down on the roof.
After dinner, the undertaker returned (it seemed odd to me that they didn't stay for the funeral. They just left the casket at 10:30 and came back at 2:30) to get Amy's body and we followed them to the crematorium. On the way there, we got stuck in a traffic jam of Holsteins. You can see the crematorium chapel in the distance.
Once we arrived, we had to fill out a bunch of forms and give them copies of our passports and the death certificate. They took Amy's fingerprints and toe prints (Interpol has her fingerprints, but who could possibly verify her toe prints?!) before she was cremated.
The kids each had tons of friends at the funeral and many came over to the house afterwards as well which was great. Thanks for all of your prayers and well wishes. Sorry that I can't respond to each of them personally.