Thursday, January 11, 2018

Death In The Family

I half suspect my grandmother only wanted to live long enough to see her hundredth year since she breathed her last just shy of the last hour of the new year's.

Since I'd just barely touched down back home after seeing her prior to the new year's, I half considered not returning for the final engagement. Much to my mother's consternation since such a shocking social solecism would be an anathema to her. Though my parents claimed I didn't have to,  I basically turned back to the airport to take the return flight, bowing to social convention - and yes, also to the unspoken censure in my mother's remarks.

Me not stupid.

I'm glad I did though.

Very little weep, whimper or wail when she finally passed beyond since we all had our chances to say goodbye the past few months before. When the news of her impending passing became known to us, we had all taken turns to pay her a final visit so everything that we wanted said had already been said.

So we threw a celebratory send-off for her, just as she would have wanted it. Not only had she despised overblown grieving during funerals, my extremely irreligionist grandmother also heartily disliked complicated religious ceremonies. Easy enough to see where she's coming from since she grew up in China during those turbulent times when such archaic pseudo-spiritual practices were being phased out.

Thank goodness she never left any wildly asinine superstitions for us.

Unfortunately no, the monks weren't all that hot. Didn't even imagine defrocking any of them. 

Apparently a memo not everyone received - since this time we were all greeted by a heartily pious Buddhist monk leading the ceremonies at the wake. She didn't like monks either. Unlike the far more entertaining Taoist monks from my grandfather's funeral with their engaging pantomimes, this turned out to be a far more sedate affair with a lot of repetitive chants and croons to the accompanying soporific rhythm of a wooden fish.

Not to mention a convenient prayer book with subtitles for those barbaric illiterates entirely unversed in obscure Buddhist sutras.

Figuring that only one particular religious discipline wasn't enough to wrest nirvana for my late grandmother, subsequently the family elders also invited an entirely different sect of Tibetan Buddhism who came over with their very own monks, decorations and accoutrements.

Om Mani Padme Hum indeed!

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