星期四, 10月 18, 2001

Today is the day before my grandmother's funeral. I took off work early, and met my mom, aunts and uncles at the funeral home in Alhambra.

So, my eldest and second eldest uncles just decided last night that they're not even coming to the funeral. One of them said that tomorrow is an "unlucky" day for him to attend funeral according to Chinese believes. Whatever. Such a lame excuse.

Back at the funeral home. By the time I got there, they already placed grandma in a casket at the center of the room. Candles and incense was burning in front of her, and the ceremony for the family was about to begin. Everything had an incense. The lady working there put white pins in the hair of all my aunts and my mom, and a green pin in my hair (since I'm a grandchild). The sons and son-in-laws wore black cloth strips on their cloths. We then walked around grandma, called out her name, and put the incense at the incense bowl. Then, all of us had to kneel down in front of her and the shrine, and bow our heads on the floor three times. Then we have to take turns holding up food (vegetable dishes) and rice and bow for her.

At the shrine in front of her body, is a paper made two-story house with almost everything in it. It has a bed, sofa, tv, dining room table, tv, radio, everything. Also on the table is four servants, two boys and two girls ("Gum Tung Yuk Nui"), and a mercedes car with a driver inside it. Tons of paper gold and silver also, waiting to be burnt for my grandma tomorrow.

Grandma was dressed in a pink suit that my aunt picked out for her. They cleaned her up really good, even put makeup on her. She look really peaceful, there's almost a faint smile on her face as she sleeps.

Next, we had to fold paper gold and burn them for her. There's a fireplace right next to the body. We folded tons of paper gold and silver, and burns them in the fireplace. It is believed that whatever we burnt, she'll be able to get them for real in the afterlife.

When everything is done, we walked around grandma one more time, holding incense in our hands, saying goodbye. As the workers at the funeral home came to push grandma back into the cold room, we all had to bow our heads since we are not supposed to look at her at all when her body is moving.

Before we left the funeral home, they passed out a bag that had the chinese word "manners" on it. Inside is a piece of candy. Everyone who went inside a funeral home should take one and bring it home with them for good luck.

Next stop is the floral shop. We all got grandma a big flower circle. Each circle has all the family members' Chinese names on them. For my family, it has of course, mom and dad, Jeff and I.

That's all that happened today. Will write more tomorrow. Night!

星期三, 10月 17, 2001

I don't understand.

My grandmother has 5 sons. Why is it that only ONE son was at her death bed the night before she died? Why weren't any of her other sons whom she favored so much over daughters there? Where were they? Why were they so busy that they won't even see their dying mother? My eldest and second eldest uncles had a month and a half to come see my grandma since her first stroke, and they didn't even bother. Now that she has passed away, they're coming to attend her funeral. Why on earth? They didn't bother to see their mother when she was alive, why come now? To prove to people that they're good sons? I think not. They're both retired; what the heck else have they got to do all day? They're so busy that they can't even spare a few days to come see their dying mother?

Even though they're my uncles by blood. I do not have even one shred of respect for them. Heartless, cold blooded people, scumbags, no, worse than scumbags.

They disgust me.
My grandmother died two days ago, on Monday 10/15.

It was kind of a relief to everyone, because it was just so very hard to see her holding on, struggling in pain for a month and a half since her first stroke. Last weekend when I saw her, she had tubes going in through her neck, and there were bruises all over her neck from it. Her arms are full of needle hold buises, and it was so so hard to see. Sigh.

This past Sunday, I got a call from my mom, saying that my grandmother's heart stopped for a while, and the doctors revived her and now she has a machine helping her breath. They called and say she'll probably not last through the night.

I rushed home around 10pm at night, went to the hospital with my mom to say goodbye. Tears just rushed out the moment my mom and I saw her, lying there with a huge tube in her mouth. Her face is all swollen from the fluids and the air and gets pumped into her. I can barely recognize the grandma I once knew from this person lying in front of me. I held her hand, and it was stone cold. My mom kept saying "mom, don't worry anymore, it's going to be ok". Her eyes did not open at all while we were there. It was a very sad night for all of us. She was perfectly healthy until her stroke. I even took her to Fashion Island to shop and Korean BBQ for dinner the weekend before her stroke. How can she be dying?? .....

Mom and I went home that night. I remembered dreaming about my grandma but unfortunately did not remember what she said to me. All I remember is that I was talking with her. In the morning around 6am, my mom knocked on my door, came in, and said,"Grandma is gone." We all expected this but it's still very hard when it actually came. My mom and I, my aunts and uncles went to the hospital together to pray for my grandma before they take her body to the morgue. My aunt told us we cannot touch grandma's body or cry around her because it will give my grandma pain and she would not want to leave us and rest in peace.

We went into her ICU room, there lies grandma, all cleaned up. They removed all the tubes from her body. The monitor above the bed that used to have all theses charts and lines and beeps loud noises now have all these red "X"s on them and silence. Her face is still swollen, her lips are still puffed and her tougue is still sort of sticking out (because she didn't have her denture on), but her eyes are closed. She looked like she's sleeping, but the strange thing is you don't see any breathing movement at all. Her face is motionless, so is her body. I still don't understand how life can be taken away from a person, just like that. She was alive and well just a month and a half ago. And now, she's gone.

That was such a cold and scary room to be in. My grandma lying in the bed by the door, next to her is another bed. (well, the two beds are separated by a screen) There was this old man on this other bed, and he does not look any better than my grandma, they had cottons over his eyes, he's on the respirator, if you ask me, he looks pretty dead to me. His feet were turning black too. very gross. You can imagine how creepy it was in the room.

We prayed and chanted for her for about half and hour. I could not help crying so I was standing almost at the door. Everyone's eyes turned red as we chant,"nam mor or li tor fud, nam mor or li tor fud..." Grandma just layed there, motionless, I was wondering if her spirit is still linggering around. Where does one's soul go when they die??

曾幾何時,機場是我最討厭的地方。那時譚爸譚媽長期在亞洲,而我和弟弟則待在美國上學。一家四個人住在四個不同城市。每年暑期假回港探望他們後要回美時,爸媽都會送我機。而每次我都會忍著淚水入閘,直到他們倆看不到我時才掩臉大哭。 想不到,今天這齣戲又再上演。地點卻不再是在機場。