This Saturday, Dec 10, was a very cold and beautiful morning. One of the coldest till now. The sun was low as all the day long nowadays and shed a warm-orangish light on the towers, the walls and the graves.
At 9:40 in the morning we stepped into the monastery's church in Abdij van 't Park (The Abby in the Park) for the funeral of our sweet landlord, Eric.
Eric died a few days before and his ashes were to be dispersed int he Abby's land.
We met Rita, the widow, also a very nice person, and the family at the entrance were they received the condolers. The ashes laid in a red ceramic recipient. A 45 minutes service was offered by a lady, one of the community members (no mass, but a civil service), in which family members and friends talk about the Eric.
We came to the funeral with our special neighbor, who patiently answered all our questions and was a very pleasant company much needed in such an event. We'll dedicate her and her family a separate post.
Eric had a cerebral hemorrhage and died in the university's hospital. He visited us a few days before this occurred to fix some things that needed attention in the apartment silicon water isolation in the bath and the kitchen, a led light bulb that didn't work and a falling shower head. All very trivial things.
We gave him a hand in some things and D asked whether he'd like a coffee or a Rochfort. He slowly raised his had, nodded and said "Of course a Rochfort".
Eric was the one that told me in my first days in Leuven upon my question which Belgium good wine should I try: "Just drink beer!"
The three of us had two beers while talking about Belgium politics (the 500 something days without government, how if it wasn't because of the financial crisis Belgium should have stayed without a government and the huge public sector in Belgium). Most of the time we talked bout his work maintaining and building with is own hands the rent-apartments they own in Leuven, the one he must finish now b/c of fire safety requirements but above all he told us about his experiences working in Africa and how much he likes traveling over there. He told us the amazing story of an hydroelectric dam which had turbines not working, since the dam built on the border of two countries posed a political problem and no one was able to decide to fix it and make it work. Instead, coal/fuel power stations were built. He explained how stupid it is locally, but also globally. Such an effort and such amounts of money are spent in inefficient subsidies for solar-photo voltaic panels in the west, while a much better investment for the whole planet would have been spending similar budgets in making clean energy in places where it's possible to easily make a big big change. "We are after all the same planet, he!" he smiled and took another sip of the beer.
That's how we'll remember him. Human, smiling, happy.
At the end of the ceremony, a picture of Eric with some poem words were given to the participants.
We obviously didn't take pics that morning and will have to rely on our memory for the images.
Here are some pics of the same Abby and cemetery we took a couple of weeks before.