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Their Last Wish Was To Be Buried In Mexico. Instead, They May End Up In Mass Graves.

Culture & Community By O. DELGADO
Their Last Wish Was To Be Buried In Mexico. Instead, They May End Up In Mass Graves.

"If anything were ever to happen to me, I would always want to go back to my land."

Across the country, thousands are faced with the same stark reality, that their loved ones may never take that last trip home, to be laid to rest in Mexican soil.

The New York Times tells the story of two brothers, Javier and Martin Morales, both immigrants from Mexico who made a life here in the states.

Last week, both brothers lost their battle against the virus, just one day apart.

Javier, 48, died alone in the hospital. Martin, 39, died the very next day in his home, after learning about his brother's passing. They leave behind four children between them.

"My family likes to think that [Martin] could not live without his older brother. They were best friends," Melanie Cruz Morales, the brothers' niece, told the NYT

Now, the family is left trying to navigate the red tape and raise thousands of dollars to grant the brothers' last wish: to be buried in their hometown of Santa Catarina Yosonotú in Oaxaca.

"My grandmother who is back in Mexico, all she ever wanted was to see her sons," Melanie says.

Sending bodies back home for burial is a sacred and long-standing tradition in the Mexican community, usually facilitated by the Mexican consulate.

But, with people and places refusing to transport and accept bodies for fear of disease, that is no longer a possibility.

And the Morales family is not alone.

The virus has hit our community especially hard, killing hundreds in the New York area alone, where Latinos are dying at twice the rate. 

Across the country, thousands are faced with the same stark reality, that their loved ones may never take that last trip home, to be laid to rest in Mexican soil.

With so many Latinos out of work and unable to cover body storage, transport, and funeral costs, many are turning to GoFundMe to raise the money to keep their fathers and mothers, abuelas y abuelos out of the mass graves that have been dug to deal with the overwhelming number of dead.

"There are [GoFundMe] pages for women and men; construction workers, kitchen workers, hotel employees, nursing home attendants, babysitters. The victims include recent arrivals and immigrants who came decades ago, such as Edmundo García, 62, who worked at Salem and Sons Bakery in Union City, N.J., for 21 years, until the day he got sick," writes Annie Correal in the New York Times.

Those pictured above from left to right are:

Remigio Rosales Florespanadero and father of nine, died at home in Brooklyn. 

Javier and Martin Morales, a long haul trucker and a warehouse worker. They leave behind four children.

Gregorio Rosales, a cabdriver and widowed single father of seven, died at a hospital in the Bronx. 

Their families, like so many families, are raising money to send, if not their bodies, at least their ashes, back home to Mexico. [GoFundMe linked in each name.]

As Javier Morales once said, echoing the sentiments of immigrants everywhere:

"If anything were ever to happen to me, I would always want to go back to my land."

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