LEOGANE, Haiti -- Two separate funeral bands file past one another in concurrent ceremonies for the different set of mourners, whose wails pierce through white tents crammed with family and friends for the final viewing of the departed lying in open caskets.
The scene depicts yet another day of tragedy in this quake-ravaged town, just south of the capital, where no building seems to have been spared in the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck on Jan. 12.
The tents where the wake and funeral Mass were held were at the site of the St. Rose de Lima Catholic Church. The building is now a collapsed sanctuary of memories.
"Everything's not right. Everything is not right," said Beliotte Sterle, 52, who was paying respects to his deceased aunt. He has been to at least six funerals since Jan. 12.
"There are so many, that sometimes I just don't go," he said. "People just can't take it."
Sterle's aunt, Conserve Jéoboham 82, died Feb. 17 of a heart attack, following one of many continuing aftershocks. Lying in the second tent was Mardi Révélia, 84.
Cause of her death: unclear.
The funerals of these strangers were the third I witnessed as a reporter on this particular day. A fourth funeral -- on the previ- ous day -- was for one of my own family members.
My cousin, Hérard Aneas, died Feb. 25. He, too, collapsed within four hours of an after-shock, said his only daughter Heraldine, a nurse.
Heraldine said Hérard's heart finally gave out as she unsuccessfully attempted to give him CPR in the back seat of the car as she and her brothers raced with him to a hospital after midnight.
Two months after Haiti's greatest disaster, funerals have become the new norm in a post-quake Haiti, where only weeks ago the dead were piled up on the side of roads and then tossed into mass graves.
Multiple funerals, two and three at a time, are taking place here daily. They are happening within what's left of centuries-old churches, in courtyards strewn with piles of rubble, and underneath tarps pitched like cathedrals around wooden frames.
"Before the quake, death was a family event." said Dr. Alix Lassegue, who runs the general hospital in Port-au-Prince, which houses the capital's only public morgue. "Now, everybody knows."
Statistically the number of deaths is not any higher today than it was before the quake, Lassegue said. But the perception of increased deaths is real and Jan. 12 has become the explanation for everything. Because death is so prevalent here, no one ever dies of natural causes in the minds of Haitians.
In order to cope with so many deaths, people need to assign blame.
That was true for my family as well.
I first learned of Hérard's death in an e-mail that jolted me out of bed in disbelief.
Until that moment, I had been a member of an elite club -- those with family in the capital who managed to escape death in the Jan. 12 quake.
Then came the phone call confirming my new status as a member of a majority: people here who have lost at least one person they love.
Hérard was my mother's oldest nephew, the one who stands out in my childhood memories of life in Haiti, and the one who just two months ago allowed me to finally breathe a sigh of relief when I asked, "Eske tout moun vivan?"
"Yes, we are all alive," he said over the telephone from Carrefour, near the quake's epicenter.