In Another, Better Place

Hey guys. Sorry for the lack of updates – my paternal grandmother passed away last Thursday and I’ve been back in Ipoh for the funeral rites which lasted four days.

Ah Ma was the last of my surviving grandparents. She was diagnosed with cancer almost a year ago, and due to her age (she’s 90), doctors were unable to do surgery or chemo for her. We were all surprised that she lasted this long as it is, and thankfully, she has not complained of pain. She simply stopped eating towards the last days of her life, became weaker and weaker, and finally breathed her last.

Living in KL and rarely going back to Ipoh except on special occasions, I have never been close to any of my grandparents. But I admire the way Ah Ma has managed to bring up 10 children, through hard times. She has survived three children.

As I grow older, my parents are aging too. Death is part of life, but I know now to appreciate the time I have left with my remaining relatives and to cherish every moment.

We conducted two nights of prayers at the crematorium, and sent Ah Ma’s body for the final rites on Saturday. Then we collected her bones and ashes to be stored in the columbarium the next day.

Chinese people have a lot of rituals, some which I find rather… unique (?). Like the fact that only sons can carry the ash urn. But I guess culture and tradition has their own significance.

We brought Ah Ma’s urn to her final resting place at the Wat Siribunya along Tambun Road. My dad used to stay here as a child, when a kind donor allowed them the land within the Siamese temple’s compound. The saying goes that you always come back to your roots and home. Ah Ma’s urn slot lies next to my grandpa’s, two of her sisters, just opposite my great grandfather, and a few slots away from my eldest uncle and aunt.

Anyway, I’ll be super busy this week. I missed four days of work and now I have to play catch up. Til next post.

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