Tuesday, February 21, 2012

parting is such sweet sorrow

I heard that my cousin was back in town. And only because my grandaunt had just passed on :( When exactly was the last time I saw her, I cannot recall. I remember a time from long ago, with chubby cheeks and getting pinched and all of us were together at someone's wedding. That seemed sometime... just too long ago. I'm not close to that side of the family. Except for the uncle and cousins that I see year on year during the lunar new year. But with every single passing, family gathers together.

It was a chatter-filled Saturday night, catching up over old photographs and 'long-lost' family. It was almost as if, this were a social event, for a moment at least. Till something in the room, something you see, hear, touch or feel that reminds you that it was a wake. Sadness sets in but doesn't hit/ stay. Find another person in the room to engage and that sadness leaves for a bit during the conversation. Initial feelings of sticking out like a sore thumb disappeared and before we knew it, 3 hours had passed. Making plans for Sunday morning, everyone gradually took their leave.

The cremation is never easy. I cannot watch when the coffin is lifted, the doors open and for a moment there I feel as if i can hear, that roar of fire, see the flames that engulf and burn everything to ashes. Where we return to what we were made from.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
On the last leg of a journey in life, some assistance, a moment of pain and all that's left are photographs of the past.

I apologize for the raw pain and graphic emotions. There comes a point in time where I look at the way I live and I've been so irresponsible with life, I wish it were me taking that last journey. But of course, I have much more to complete, to fulfil as duties before I speak so freely of relieving myself of these worldly cares.

So then there was a lunch. Sharing a meal with family, even amidst the pain of loss, has great significance for me. I don't know if this is a new tradition that's gaining in popularity these days but I think it sort of helps with a proper closure.

Ban Heng at Blk 22, Bendemeer Road.

Fondly remembered.
Betty Oh Choon Seng :)


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