MUERTO PARADO

What do we mean when we say, “We are keeping up appearances?

Have you heard that expression? It means that we continue to act as if nothing is wrong. We do not want people to know what’s really happening, so we fake the appearance of everything remaining in the good state we were once known for. It’s like the bankrupt rock star living in his mansion and spending money he does not have. No one suspects that he has not managed his wealth well. He thinks his social standing and perceived greatness is untouched.

Keeping up appearances… how far will people go to hold on to the memory of what once was?

Just a couple months ago in Puerto Rico, this picture was taken.

He looks like many young Puerto Rican men with one exception. Do you know what is off in this photo? This young man is Fernando Beato and he is not alive. He was shot and killed outside his home. This is his mummified body at the wake.

The family chose to honour Beato’s vibrant life through services with the Marin Funeral Home in San Juan, a business known for its non-traditional funerals… The funeral home has been a pioneer in Muerto Parado, or “standing dead,” services since 2008… He was seated on a chair from his mother’s home. Díaz Beato said her mother kept the chair covered in plastic and refused to let Beato sit on the chair, despite his many attempts. “Oh my god,” he would protest. “I’ll only be able to use it when I die.”
Beato could always be seen with a cigar and black cap. His khakis and tennis shoes were brand new. The funeral home kept his eyes open as a surprise for the family.[1]

Now that… is keeping up appearances!

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