By Alberto Ferreras
Vecilla de la Polvorosa, Spain, Oct 31 (EFE).- For 12 years, the residents of the tiny northwestern Spanish village of Vecilla de la Polvorosa had nowhere in town to bury their dead. That changed three months ago when a new graveyard was opened, but no flowers have been laid at the new site yet as the hamlet – which is home to four nonagenarians – has still not lost any of its 88 souls.
The mayor of the town, Cesar Mayo, has jokingly urged locals to delay inaugurating the new cemetery. “You never know who will die first,” he tells Efe, calling on his constituents not to use the graveyard. “People must not use it, they must live on.”
Mayo calculates at least 20 deceased in the last 12 years who could not be buried locally due to the lack of space in the old cemetery, a figure that may be even higher if you add the children of the people who, although they no longer lived there, wished to be buried in Vecilla de la Polvorosa with their loved ones.
Another resident, Laurentino Peñín, who has gone to the old cemetery to honor his deceased relatives, explained that the years without space for new graves forced people to turn to cremation and others to bury their relatives in other towns, most in Benavente, the regional capital.
The story began in 2009, when the historic cemetery, located in the town center next to the church, ran out of space.
Extending the graveyard was impossible because of the proximity of neighboring homes, while a new proposed site had flooding issues, as well as delays with permits.
Between one thing and another, work on the new cemetery was not complete until the deadliest waves of Covid infections were overcome this year.
The mayor of Morales del Rey, Consuelo Posado, to whose council belongs Vecilla de la Polvorosa, has admitted that when she became mayor two years ago she made the cemetery her “main interest”.
While she is happy with the result, with alcoves on the sides and a zen garden in the middle with white stones, two statues of angels and an olive tree, she is most proud that locals can now lay their dead to rest with peace of mind.