The advance of the Tajogaite streams has not only destroyed the Las Manchas cemetery, it also maintains the Tazacorte cemetery within the exclusion zone, forcing many deceased to rest eternally away from their other disappeared relatives. In the case of the Los Angeles cemetery, their relatives only have the memory as the only way to pay tribute to their loved ones.
The Tajogaite volcano It has also had effects until the last rest of those who have died in these last 72 days in the Aridane Valley. The fact thats cemeteries of Los Angeles, in Las Manchas, and that of Tazacorte are within the exclusion zones, it has forced the deceased to be displaced to other graveyards away from the resting place of other family members.
The gravedigger of the Las Manchas cemetery, Adelmo Bethencourt, indicates that around 40 residents of Los Llanos de Aridane have already received burial in the San Vicente Ferrer in El Paso. To these must be added some deceased who have had to be transferred to Tenerife for cremation. The only incinerator furnace on La Palma has remained in the exclusion zone since last September 19, succumbing to the advance of lava last Thursday. In these cases, the gravedigger highlights that the families who have chosen this option “probably” have had to face an additional cost, “if the insurance company does not cover it,” he explains.
In this situation, the families of the deceased face with resignation not being able to bury their relatives in the closest place to their homes and, above all, adds Adelmo Bethencourt, situations such as “having to bury a brother away from his father or his mother”. Even so, those affected “accept it with resignation.” “You can do nothing and there is no other remedy,” emphasizes the gravedigger. Bethencourt also appreciates the willingness of the El Paso City Council, which “has ceded its cemetery without problems, with all good will.”
In addition, before the advance of the lava on the Los Angeles cemetery in Las Manchas, Adelmo confesses to take it “very badly”, since, in these facilities, in addition to his work, there are also “many acquaintances, friends and even family” and Ultimately, “many stories that I have lived there” are left behind.
About 40 residents of Los Llanos de Aridane who died during the eruption rest in El Paso
The gravedigger points out that “the loss of homes is felt more”, since the deceased “although it is hard to say so”, he points out, “they will no longer suffer”, but that does not stop causing a situation of “impotence” among who have their relatives buried there. The cemetery houses the remains of 3,610 deceased, residents, mainly from Los Llanos de Aridane, but also some from the Las Manchas area of El Paso.
The archpriest of the area, Jorge Concepción Feliciano, in addition to the parish priest of Tazacorte, confirms that for two months the graves of the deceased in the municipality of Los Llanos de Aridane have been moved to El Paso or even Tijarafe.
It has been the San Vicente Ferrer Cemetery, in the center of the Island, and in the Northwest Cemetery that have received the deceased of these 70 days from Los Llanos de Aridane.
Concepción Feliciano reports that in the municipality of Tazacorte, whose cemetery has been included in the exclusion zone since last October 20, as a result of the advance of lava over the La Laguna neighborhood, burials have been possible. Of course, with all the security measures, accompanied by an emergency equipment vehicle and with the assistance of the closest family members. That way, only the funeral company car and another car with those relatives are allowed.
The other parish priest of the affected area, in the neighborhoods of Todoque and La Laguna, Alberto Hernández, expressed to all his parishioners and neighbors, through a message, his feeling of regret for the affection of the lava in the Las Manchas cemetery .
Alberto Hernández: «Our deceased are not in the cemetery, they are in the heart»
Hernández decided to share through an audio some reflections after the “harshness”, he said, of the day lived in which the lava entered the interior of the Los Angeles cemetery, known as the Las Manchas Cemetery. There, the lava almost completely covered the hundreds of niches and destroyed the incinerator.
The priest did so wanting to convey warmth and closeness, and from the chapel of El Retamar, where he continues to celebrate mass. The priest regretted that the volcano “has taken away another piece of the neighborhood from us,” since many families continue to lose their homes, among other properties. “In the hearts of all is also this sensitive loss of our cemetery,” he said.
To comfort his parishioners, the parish priest pointed out that he thinks of the words “that we hear every year on Easter morning”, when the Gospel describes the visit of women to the tomb of Jesus “and a voice tells them why you are looking among the dead the one who lives. Alberto Hernández emphasizes that “perhaps that is the phrase of the Gospel that is good for me at the moment.”
Regarding the cemetery that is now buried, he indicated that “it is the resting place of our loved ones, it is a place of remembrance and memory”, but also “with such a beautiful location, with its gardens and open spaces, it was a place until to contemplate, walk and meet in so many moments, as well as to remember and mourn our deceased ».
Now that the lava has devastated the place, “that little piece of our memory and memory”, Hernández asks his neighbors to remember the word of Jesus, when he remembers that “our deceased are not in the cemetery, they are in the heart of each one when we close our eyes and remember them, when we think of so many moments lived by their side, when we remember the tone of their voice, their advice, their teachings, when we imagine them smiling, when we feel the warmth of their hands that so many times they narrowed ours “, to add that” when everything that lives in our memory surfaces, they are alive. ”
The parish priest of Todoque and La Laguna also regrets that those remains “have been buried for the second time”, crying them on the day of farewell, and “we are also crying for them today, knowing that we will not see that place again as we have known it and we will not have the opportunity to approach him again.
Finally, the message sent by the priest emphasizes the need to remember the deceased and, moved, he emphasizes that “if we cannot return to the cemetery, as it seems that it will be, we can, by closing our eyes, bring them to our hearts, send them our affection and ask them in these bitter hours to continue praying for us ».