Saturday, August 29, 2009

Grandpa's Funeral

26th August 2009 - Mom's Call at 7.35 am

Mom usually won't call really early but when that call woke me up, it must be something really urgent. I sensed that something is not right. Then she told me straight with the first phrase "Ah Kung (Grandpa) had passed away. You need to come back." I was absolutely shocked with the news. I called Jimmy and told him the news as well as shocked him up too.

Grandpa had admitted to hospital for few times earlier. But he was always strong & overcame all the minor old age problem and discharged from hospital. But this time... he was gone. I was really shocked.

27th August 2009 - Funeral
The funeral indeed started on 26th August 2009. But I only managed to be back on 27th. When I reached home, I saw mom to be much slimmer (after her sickness for 10 days + exhaustion of the funeral). We rested for a while and headed to the funeral place.

The moment I stepped in, I went to light up some josssticks and pray respect to grandfather. And, I headed to look at grandpa's remain with mom. He look really peaceful. I was calm. No tears. But mom started crying emotionally and I had to hold her and it made me shed some tears.

Then I met cousins - Shang Wei, Shang Yuan, Shaw Fung (John), and my brothers, Wai Ming and Wai Kit, were there helping each other on folding the "kam po (gold)" to be burned for ceremony. It was like a mini gathering and we always teased each other with jokes and laughed a little. It reminded me when we were younger and growing up together.

Then ceremony began at 6pm. Sons and daughters have to wear black and we, grandsons and granddaughters in white, great grandsons and great granddaughters in green.

Prayer - Blanket Him & Look at Him Last Time.
The ceremony began with some prayers and as it reached almost the end, mom and Auntie Thai Chin had to put on "blanket" on Ah Kung (grandpa). They, daughters of Ah Kung (grandpa) had to buy him a blanket and a roasted pig for the whole ceremony.

The ceremony was okay except the part when we could look at him the last time (before they nailed down the mirror to close it), mom and Auntie Thai Chin cried really hard and we had to hold them and brought them out of the place where coffin was placed. It was emotional.

Prayer - Crossing the Bridge
They have this bridge (in paper) where Ah Kung (grandpa) - in soul - was supposed to cross over. I didn't really get the idea of this ceremony, but we had to yell "Ah Kung (grandpa), cross the bridge". I didn't get that message. But we did it because we respected the ceremony to be good for grandpa. Mom cried too.

Prayer - House and Car, with Maids & Drivers (in Paper)
This ceremony was to ensure Ah Kung (grandpa) to receive his house and car, with maids and driver being educated to be filial to Ah Kung (grandpa). It was hillarious

Prayer - Dragon's Gates and with Coins?
This ceremony was interesting - a sand dragon was built on the ground outside the place and coins were spread around it. The prayer went on and they lighted fire on the wok with stunts where it causes the fire to flame. It was interesting to witness it. Then, they wanted us to dig and find all the coins. The ceremony might means about wealth? I got myself quite some coins.

Prayer - Burn the House, Car, Maids, Driver
This ceremony was the final one on that night. We had to form a semi circle around the Paper House, Car, Maids and Driver. Then ceremony started and they started burning it. It was chilly outside after rain and the fire flames was big.

Uncle Thy Chong & families were back
When Uncle Thy Chong and families were back, mom & Auntie Thai Chin hugged them and cried so hard. They headed to pay respect to Ah Kung(grandpa). I had to hold auntie and mom. They were all crying emotionally.

Then, all of them settled down and spoke to relatives - thanking them to come to pay last respect to Ah Kung (grandpa). It was a tiring day.

28th August 2009 - Funeral - Last Respect
Early morning we completed a ceremony where we had to wipe a paper (gold paper) on his coffin and throw it on the floor. It was the last respect. It was more emotional and alot of them cried. I cried alittle too. Then, they asked everybody to pay last respect and also, look at him for the last time before they close the coffin. When I look at him the last time, it was the time I cried the most. It was sad. I couldn't hold my tears. Mom was emotional but she was in control. Earlier, Auntie Thai Chin was brought to clinic because of her exhaustion. We were all shocked.

Then, they finally closed the coffin.

We had to line up and trailed the coffin car - we walked for almost 10 - 15 minutes on street. It was almost over.

Cremation Burn
We were headed to a place where Ah Kung (grandpa)'s remain is to be burned and ashes to be collected and placed in Graveyard.

This marked the final ceremony we did for the funeral in general. Mom was calm and everyone else is alright.

The Pro-Funeral
We all had lunch in restaurant to thank everybody for efforts and come to the funeral.

Then, Dad was assigned to chop the roasted pig (mom and Auntie Thai Chin bought for ceremony). Then, all the parts were separated and chopped, to give to relatives and people.

Ashes of Ah Kung (grandpa) was collected earlier today (on 29th August 2009) and was properly placed in Nilai Memorial Park.

It's Nothing Matters Anymore But Our Hearts Still Have Him
Ah Kung (grandpa) was a smart guy and earned a lot of money - and if he have not spent a lot of money, he must be a rich person. He passed away peacefully and we all really miss him. Although a lot of times, we heard troubles he made, we have heard words he said that were not nice, but all of them were gone. During Chinese New Year this year, where my financial status was better, I managed to give him an angpau. I am glad I did. At least, I have made him feel happy. I might not have been so filial, but I did what I could to pay the last respect to him. Although maybe we were not close enough, but I was saddened over our loss.

Mom said "We used to argue and quarrel, complained at each other, and now he is really gone. He is really gone." - She meant wholeheartedly as in, there are many cases of quarrels and arguments because of personality crash, financially, troubles, but at the end of the line, she still care for him - she went to hospital to bring him food, she asked him to come for dinner, she bought him clothes for CNY, everything she can do as a simple housewife. Same goes to my father. Father takes care of him too.

My sister in law said "We are always near and Kit (Wai Kit) always talk to him, saw him around in the neighbourhood". She was saddened when he was gone.

Every 1st day of Chinese New Year, we went to Ah Kung (grandpa)'s place to greet him. He always feel happy for that. I will miss him on the 1st day of Chinese New Year.

The few days' weather were calm - cloudy, not too hot, not too cold. I sensed it as calm and serene. Ah Kung (grandpa) passed away peacefully and may he rest his soul in peace.

One important thing that I have observed throughout the whole funeral - Being filial, respectful and take care of our parents are important; no matter how they have treated us earlier; Spend some time with them, although just short weekend; call them; contact them - they feel much happier.

In funeral, what is need to be done is to pay respect. And for those who have not done enough when they are still around, what else can be done? Even if one shows no respect or showing respect, and even dramatize sadness, actually it doesn't matter anymore.

Grandpa, we always remember you in our heart. RIP.


Chong said...

AS you said, we need to spend more time with our family. I have the same thinking as you when my ah kung passed away. My mum is getting older, i scared to lost her one day before i even have time to go traveling with her or bring her go shopping or go picnic with her and so on.

So as a daughter or son, we really need to spend time with family. Or else, everything will be too late when they are no longer around us.

Szeshee said...

i love your last paragraph.
treat them good when they're still here. we want regrets no more.