Thursday, 1 April 2010

Funeral Stories...

When my hubby's dad passed away 6 years ago, it was the 1st Christian funeral I've ever attended in my life. It was a very peaceful event. When his casket cover was lifted up, all his family members walked around and said their last words, some holding his hand and touching his face.

There were Christian songs sung during the wake service and some church members came over as well. Some of his children gave their eulogies and within 5 days, it was all over. His body was cremated and ashes were scattered across the river near their town.

Then about 2 months later, my granny (my mum's mum) passed away and we all went back to mum's hometown for the funeral preparation and service. I told my mum that I'm a believer now (I was scheduled for baptism in 4 months time then) and will not be praying with them by holding and burning the joss sticks (my mum & dad's family are all Buddhist)

At that time, my mum was a bit miffed with what I said cos' she replied me saying 'So, if it is my turn, you will also not burn any joss sticks for me?'. I told her bowing down and pay my respects, yes, but burn and hold joss sticks, no. I will get back to this story later on how my mum changed her mind on this later.

So anyway, it was a Taoist funeral (I think they couldn't find someone to perform prayers or something and all they could get at the last minute was some Taoist monks) - lots of joss sticks and paper burning and chanting of prayers. The weird thing was they played this recording of the prayer chants over and over again that really annoys me... I was only humming the Amazing Grace tune in my head.

I remembered hating that funeral service cos of the rituals...

Like how all the family members of my granny had to stand in front of the house (granny's body was in the house living room) - children 1st row, grandchildren 2nd row and so on... and all of us had to kneel down while the monks chanted and performed some stunts whatever thing they call it which they swing some stick and paper and chanted somethings...

Like how all of us who were kneeling (some of us are wearing short pants) on the tarred road outside the house under hot sun were then told to stand up, and kneel back and repeated this steps while the monks continued chanting. Like how we were then told to call out granny to come back (as in calling her spirit to come home and don't go wandering around out there) - I didn't do anything on this.. I mean, for me, if someone dies, they should go up (as in heaven) or down (as in hell) - now, why would they still have time to go wandering around?

Like how when the casket was sealed off and placed into the hearse and we were all getting ready to go to the cemetary and then we were told that all of us had to walk to the cemetary... after much shock and some protests from my relatives to the monks, they negotiated that we can just walked around the housing area (it was a mini town FYI) and then we can all go by cars...

I also remembered when the casket cover was lifted up, all of us walked around and said our last words to granny. Most of my relatives just walked around the coffin, kinda like glancing and peeking into the coffin, probably scared my dead granny will jump out at them or something. Because of my experience in the Christian funeral for my hubby's dad few months back, I stood next to the coffin, leaned over and touch my granny's cheek. In my mind, I was praying for her soul, prayed that she is in a better place and I'm sorry for not offering any joss sticks to her.

Some of my aunts are shocked when they see me touched my granny's cheek. As if I murdered her or something. But I just ignored them cos there will not be any more chance for me to see and touch my granny anymore after this.

Anyway, in my opinion, a funeral should be a happy thing. Your loved one passed away and is in a better place, why should we be chanting and doing all sorts of weird rituals?

And I told my mum before that offering and holding joss sticks doesn't mean I'm respecting the person. Just because I don't burn, hold and offered any joss sticks doesn't mean I don't respect the person.

Respect and love doesn't need to be displayed out in public for others to see.
And you do it while the person is still alive... not after they passed away...

I still remember saying these words cos I know my mum realised how true it is before she passes away 2 years later.

She knows that even though I don't hold any joss sticks for her, it doesn't mean I love her less.

She knows that because I loved her so much that I brought her to church services, so that she can see what we do in church, that I read her bible stories when she was in the hospital ward, that I get to hear her say Amen when we finished a bible story.

She knows how we just need to do what is right in our hearts and ignored what others will say and mock at us cos when we had a Christian funeral for my dad (my dad passed away 8 months before my mum), my mum didn't protest anything about the idea of it.

She knows the right choice she made when she said the sinner's prayer at the hospital ward 1 month before she passed away...

(p.s: I'll post later about my dad and mum's funeral services - both Christian services)

(*images taken from Google search)


Life with Kaishon said...

I am so sorry for your loss Jenny. I miss my Grandma's every day. I had two very wonderful ones. It is hard sometimes because I miss them so much.

thirdy_smom said...

hi jenny!

I miss reading your page!

Just wanna share, here in the phils, specially with the christians, we sing joyful songs during the funeral. My dad was always called to conduct that kind of service and when he died, it was his turn to "listen" to joyful christian songs. It helps the family to recover from the pain of losing a loved one. It helped me move on with my life, too! :)

God bless!

I'm a full-time mummy said...

Hi LIfe with Kaishon!
Thanks for dropping by and for your comments! Appreciate it!

Hey Anne!
You're back! I think it is a nice way to celebrate our loved ones passage to heaven. Singing joyful songs and be happy that they are back with our Father in heaven!

You should see the way some Chinese conducts their funerals here in Malaysia... crying and wailing and not daring to look/be near the coffin/body... :(


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