Monday, March 28, 2011

Remember The Dead



It was again the Chinese All Soul's day. We started out early to avoid the traffic jam.

It was a foggy and wet Sunday morning with few traffic. I was driving rather fast, feeling the icy cold breeze outside. It was an hour drive from my place.

It had been more than 30 years since our father had left us. Our mother had also left us few years ago. Memories of them came back from time to time; thinking of their love and care, their sacrifices and commitments, their goodness and kindness, etc.

As expected, the road to the graveyard was again jammed with vehicles. It was only 7.30 in the morning. The older people generally looked more solemn and serious, while the young ones were mostly smiling, laughing and looked more relaxed.

Smokes were everywhere around the hilly site. People were burning joss stick, joss paper, candle or any other kind of offering. Occasionally, I could hear some firecrackers. It was a serious moment for the elderly, though many of the young were happily smiling and laughing.

As usual, we cleared and cleaned the combined tomb. Many of us were there helping, though some of us were unable to make it during that hour.

A visit to the tomb had always brought back many sweet memories which we talked about. Here we poured our hearts out to one another; it was indeed a moment of truth, love, and reconciliation.

Looking far and near at the huge crowds of people; seeing their respect, honor, gratitude, and reverence to the dead, I had this overwhelming respect for them. Here we were remembering our loved ones who had left us, and many of us continued to miss their present.

It was scorching hot by nine in the morning. It was time to get back and get ready for Sunday worship. We climbed down the hill. In the distance, more people were still coming. There was a minor car accident but seemed not to draw much attention...

Sitting over a cup of coffee and a plate of fried noodle, I took a break and looked at the people. As usual, everyone was busy doing what they did everyday. It was time to carry on with our lives, now that we had paid our respects to the dead.

Sunday. It has always been a day to worship God and enjoy His present. But occasionally, it is also a day to remember those who have once been a part of our lives.

Sometimes, we just have to remember the dead.

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