He has spent his whole life going to the cemetery to frame the tombstones of his relatives. At 74, as every year, he begins his pilgrimage to the Santa Lastenia cemetery, where he has buried most of his relatives, those of blood and politicians, whose graves he also takes care of. Pablo Perera, who is the name of this native chicharrero, who now lives in La Laguna, climbs and descends with difficulty from the ladder with which he approaches to put the flowers, in this case, his in-laws. “I come from the Arico cemetery, where I also have a family, and now I will spend the afternoon here fixing the tombstones of the rest of the family,” he explains as he picks up a bouquet of carnations. He says that every year, on All Saints’ Eve, he takes the same route. “I started coming with my mother, when I was five years old, and since then I have continued to come.” He confesses that he is the only one in his family who is in charge of this task, and admits resignedly that when he is gone, no one will follow that tradition, not even with him. “I don’t want flowers brought me either. I am a believer and I have already told my wife to put up a tombstone if she wants, but with nothing to put flowers on. If they make me a mass from time to time it works for me ”. He is not a supporter of cremation. “My wife does, but I don’t see it,” he says with a shrug. “When I die I want to be buried with my parents,” he adds.
He tells that his mother was left a widow at the age of 40, while she was pregnant with him. “My father died in July and I was born in October, almost by a miracle, after how badly she had it.” He died in 1947, in an operation for a bleeding ulcer. But not knowing his father has not been an impediment for Pablo to feel an absolute connection with his father, a figure that he has always missed. “The greatest emotion of my life was when my father’s remains were removed. I took them out myself. For me it has been the greatest thing, being able to touch and kiss him ”, he says almost emotionally.
After the talk with DIARIO DE AVISOS, he climbs the ladder again to place a bouquet of carnations, while three other bunches await him on the floor. Just a few meters away is Isabel’s family. She comes accompanied by her daughter, her son-in-law and her granddaughter. She tells that her husband, Saturnino, died a year ago. “I come every week,” he says while holding one of the jugs of flowers that his son-in-law claims from the top of the stairs. In it, in addition to the flowers, a card with the Real Madrid crest. “My granddaughter put it on, but he wasn’t on any special team,” she says. His son-in-law adds that “he said it was the one who won”, a comment that makes the rest of the family smile.
Although during the morning the influx of people has been intense, there were already queues before eight to access the cemetery, at the time that DIARIO DE AVISOS visits the Santa Lastenia cemetery, at three in the afternoon, the trickle of visitors is continuous . Among them is María Teresa, who at age 40, and after more than 20 years of the death of her father, continues to get excited when trying to talk about him. “Now I come less, but I spent 15 years that I did not want to part with my father.” He tells how he even fell down the stairs (his father’s niche is in the last row) or hit his legs from tripping. “She came like a woman possessed,” she admits. When asked how old he was when he lost his father, he falls silent. He manages to say 21, and asks us not to ask him more.
At one of the gates of the cemetery is the flower stand where Ana Niebla has been working for 17 years. “This year has been crazy,” he admits. “We have had to ask our suppliers for more flowers because during the morning we have been overwhelmed,” he explains while a line of clients patiently wait to be served. “People continue to grow, little or a lot, but they have not stopped coming. Tradition can with everything ”, he says. Although this year they have had fewer orders through the internet, he admits that it is a service that came with the pandemic to stay. “They call us, we make the bouquets and we place them”, he says.
On the way out, in one of the patios, a young woman hands her father the flowers that he is placing on the grave of his daughter’s grandparents. She is Alma and she is 14 years old. “My grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents are buried here. We always come for Todos los Santos. It’s my family ”, she adds, while her father, Jonás, watches her attentively from the stairs.
This cemetery will continue to receive today, from eight in the morning until six in the afternoon, visitors who come to put flowers on their own. Tomorrow a special bus will bring users to Santa Lastenia, which will have the same schedule.
Three days of extension of hours in the cemeteries
Cemeteries throughout the Island have established special hours on the occasion of the November 1 holiday, which this year coincides with a long weekend, which has led to the opening hours from Friday until tomorrow, Monday, All Day. the Saints. In municipalities such as San Juan de la Rambla tomorrow they return to Los Santitos Street, a custom that consists of the streets of the old town being filled with minors carrying wicker baskets decorated by themselves.