I always remembered how she told us about her stories of her younger days, how she really love to sing and perform in front of the stage at school. (i guess my interest in singing is inherited from her)
She used to travel back and fro between Singapore and Malaysia as her sons were all staying in Singapore while her daughters and her house is in Malaysia. She’ll be sleeping at my house for a few days in my brother’s room and sometimes a few days at my uncle’s house.
Whenever she come to Singapore, she never fails to bring me and my brother’s favorite snack 香饼！She loves singing and will sing whenever she feels like it and sing along when my dad is having his KTV session at home.
That was all before she had Dementia. Slowly, she’s unable to recognize everyone, even her own children. It came to a point that she was too weak to walk and was wheelchair bound. And she never could come to Singapore anymore. We only got to visit her during CNY and every CNY, we can clearly see that her condition deteriorated.
As much as we knew that her day is coming soon, but didn’t expect that the last time i saw her was going to be on CNY. I remembered that day i was at work and i got the news of my grandma’s death through my cousin’s fb status. I tried to call back home but my house phone was engaged, i called the second time and my mum picked up. She asked me to get back home as soon as i can, we’re going to head back to M’sia.
Now, i hate scenes where there’s impromptu, sudden and urgent decision to head back M’sia because it’s always due to some bad news. The same scene happened during my grandpa’s death.
When we reached the funeral parlour, it was already night time and all my relatives have arrived. It was really a very quiet night.
My family took over the burning of incense papers, all i can do was to keep folding as much as i can, for grandma to have as much to “travel” with.
I believe grandma will be alone and afraid on her “travelling” way, so probably with more “money” she can feel safer.
Something i learnt from the elders, the different types of incense folding represents different values.
This type which is super easy to fold, represents like “$1”?
While this type which requires some skills and patience to fold, and looks like an ingot, represents “$5”!
Not sure how true it is, but of course, no harm trying! Here are the steps:
Take this bigger incense paper, it’s much easier to fold than the normal small ones.
Fold the lower left hand corner
Do the same for top right hand corner
Next, turn over the paper
Fold the paper into half, top parallel to each other
Fold the sharp side corner into the “pocket” of the other side
and you get the end result, just push out the bottom and it becomes a 3D version.
Every night, we have to go through the rituals and the continuous standing and kneeling totally made my legs go jelly and shaking!
Surprisingly, my parents’ legs were all fine except me >.< probably i’m the one who exercise the least.
Different color uniform represents different generations and relationship to the deceased.
White = Children / Spouses of children
Dark Blue = Grandchildren
Green = Great Grandchildren
Seriously, i just hope that i would never need to wear the white color ones. =(
My little nephew is very obedient, he did the things we told him to,
like folding of the incense paper
and taking the joss stick for praying…love him max!
On the last day of the funeral, we had to burn all the incense paper and all other things like “houses”, “cars” etc
and we have to shout for grandma to come and collect them， “婆婆快来拿” ！
Since my grandma love music, her children decided to hire a band to sing for her, my dad and uncle also sang a few songs for my grandma. Last glance of my grandma, which was very disheartening seeing all my relatives crying. This is seriously one of the most difficult moments at a funeral.
sending grandma on her last journey..to the crematory
Another difficult moment was when the coffin was pushed into the cremator and we have to shout for grandma’s spirit to run as not to get burned by the fire. “婆婆快跑，快跑啊！” We kept shouting and as loud as we could so grandma could hear us.
It’s a feeling indescribable that after living on earth for years and just one day, a person’s life can just stop and the body can be burnt into ashes within a few hours and vanish from the earth totally.
After collecting grandma’s ashes, we brought them to Malacca and placed it at the temple where grandpa’s ashes were. Bidding the last goodbye to my grandma, may you find a better life and happiness at the other world.