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Remembering Grandma (1916-2009)

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14-Dec-2009: Grandma has slept forever in the early am. Aunts said it is good time because Grandma passed away in the early morning, without finishing the three meals of the day. That’s mean the three meals will be eaten by Grandma’s children and grandchildren.

15-Dec-2009: This is the first time I am buying an air ticket to travel on the date (2009-12-15) I bought it. It was rainy when I flied back to my childhood town, yet I saw a calm and purple-pink sunset before landing. It’s probably God’s way of assuring me that my grandma’s life – though encountering poverty, wars, and riots – have a happy ending in the end. Rest in Peace my grandma (1916-2009). My grandma used to teach me how to save on toothpaste. She told me to go overseas to look for a safer and better life, to take care of my family. A hardworking woman, she still climbed to repair roof in her 70s. She loves flowers, especially orchids, that’s why there are two paper gardens to be burnt for her at the wake last night. She used to love arranging family photos, before her eyesight deteriorated. She likes tiger balm, that’s my last gift to her in this Oct.

16-Dec-2009: Tonight is very crowded. Grandma’s newspaper obituary said 97-years old if including Chinese ages.

17-Dec-2009: Today is the day when Grandma’s body being cremated. Mum wake us up at around 6am, we went to the funeral home to pray in the morning. Uncles, Aunts, Dad, Mum, we all wore white. When I landed on the second evening, Grandma’s coffin has been closed as all her children have come to see her, they will not wait for the grandchildren. The scene is like those artistic movies Zhang Yimou or Chen Kaige’s alike. We had to pray with incenses, knelt, and put forehead to the earth. Then, we had to wear a tag, different colors for different status in the family. We also walked around the coffin. Aunts had to pray with red dress, very red and I found it a total contrast to all whites that we wore. Wearing red means daughter. Then, it happened very fast, we had to find a vehicle to bring us to the crematorium. There were so many people, Mum said probably 15 vehicles – including a bus, following the funeral vehicle carrying Grandma. At the crematorium, I dare not to see the neighbours, would feel very sad for them. There was a family with young children, they cried and screamed. After prayers, being distributed some seeds and coins, putting a flower on top of Grandma’s coffin, and having to kneel till forehead reach to the earth when the coffin was being sent into the cremator, her lantern wrote: (Mother of four generations). Then, we went to the back to see Grandma’s big paper houses, gardens, and paper money being burnt. I wonder if they will be useful for Grandma. This is like tradition and belief inherited from our ancestors; if Grandma beliefs in it then we should do it for her.

20-Dec-2009: Today is Grandma’s 7th day passing away. We went to the ashes house, to pray for grandma. While a kid we had to come to pray for Grandpa. I did not like to come to the ashes house, the incenses made eyes teary and the sculptures outside the buildings were very scarry. The ashes house was built in 1981, and not all boxes have been occupied yet. Just now while resting at a pavillion, the reading said that the ashes house is to stay there forever. I helped folding paper money, worried that relatives will say my parents if they see me reading my kiddy story book of The Red Mansion. Personally, I wonder if Grandma will receive the paper money, but she probably believes that while alive, so we should just do as she wishes. My sister said that burning paper money is like contributing to carbon emission.

February 2010: Busy tidying and cleaning things to prepare for the upcoming Lunar New Year 2010, I saw Grandma’s photos traveling to the Great Wall, Temple of Heaven, Guilin (I want so much to go there), Temple Thean Ho (Malaysia), and with kangoroo. She had lived good late years considering that she had to survive wars and riots.

I remember Grandma’s message, from her past experience, for a better future of her grandchildren.

Written by blueroselady

December 14, 2010 at 9:33 am

Posted in family

Tagged with ,

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