During the last week of April 2010, YouTube and mainstream media outlets were flooded with stories about David Morales Colón, a twenty-two year old Puerto Rican man shot to death on April 22, 2010. The stories were not about the soaring rate in illegal drug related crime and deaths in Puerto Rico, the unincorporated territory of the U.S., but the manner in which the deceased was displayed at his wake.
The family of Colón had gone to Marin Funeral Home upon his death and asked that he appear at his wake seated atop his Honda Repsol CBR600 F4 motorcycle; a gift from his uncle. The funeral home operators were not shocked by this type of request, since two years earlier Marin Funeral Home had done the funeral preparations for the deceased body of another young man; twenty-four year old Angel Pantoya Medina, who was presented at his three day wake standing up clad in glasses, jeans, T-shirts and a baseball cap.
So, for Marin Funeral Home to present Colón to mourners attending his wake, seated in a racing position atop his motorcycle wearing sunglasses, black cap, long sleeved black T-shirt and black jeans, was not out of the ordinary. Colón was later buried on April 27th in a casket.
The couple who runs the funeral home says it comes to honoring the wishes of the deceased and the family of the deceased; both young men who are now more famous in death than in life for the macabre manner in which they chose to seen by the public in death. But, the idea of the dead impersonating life, strikes me as the one last defiant act against the natural order of things.
There is a Scripture that says, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die.” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 2). These two deceased young men, Medina and Colón, in choosing to be presented in death as living, have dishonored their own memory as pictures of their corpses will be displayed on the Internet in perpetuity, subject to base comments and jokes.
The door to this world and life were closed to both Medina and Colón at their deaths, even though being displayed as living at their wakes. “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 9: 5, 6).
All in all, this is a very sad legacy left for the family and friends of the late Mr. Medina and Mr. Colón; the standing corpse, and the corpse on the motorcycle.