There are some poor souls who die alone and no one steps forward as next of kin. They end up being either buried or cremated by funeral homes—without being ‘churched’ or mourned by anyone. But then there are people like Kevin Peterson who remain close to their loved ones ‘post-mortem’.
Peterson’s mother used to take him and his siblings as children to the Lapeyrouse Cemetery, Port of Spain, to pray at the gravesite of family members. These visits were not reserved for All Souls’ Day but took place “all during the year,” he told the Catholic News in an interview on October 29.
At 92 years, Peterson continues to maintain the graves of his mother, siblings, nieces and nephews, and always visits to ‘light up’ on All Souls’. “I believe you have to look after your dead because when they were living they looked after you. I will always look after them till I can’t do it anymore,” Peterson said.
Days before All Souls’ when he visited Lapeyrouse, there was tall grass—and some men were offering to clean graves for as much as $500. But Peterson would have none of it. Even at his age, he does not rely on help for the cleaning of the graves.
When he visits the cemetery it is as if he were calling on living relatives because he “holds a conversation with them although it is a one-way conversation…just as I hold a conversation with anyone”.
Peterson is among the dwindling number of persons who take the time to tend the final resting place of loved ones. A visit to cemeteries will find many plots overgrown with weeds and headstones damaged. In fact, cremation is a preferred option for many for various reasons, including because of a scarcity of burial plots.
But Peterson remains faithful to the commitment he gave to his relatives years ago.