Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Family Memorial Service


It was Good Friday.

It was also the Ching Ming festival.

My family had chosen this day to visit the tomb of our father and mother.

******

It was early morning when we began our journey.

The weather was misty with poor visibility.

There were not many traffic along the way.

We drove faster than usual, but kept the speed limit.

Nevertheless, my wife and I were the last couple to arrive.

******

We reached the entrance of the cemetery by 7a.m.

There was a whole line of traffic in front of us.

Traffic slowed to a halt as it was more and more difficult to find parking space.

We had to turn a full round before we could find our desired parking place.

*******

We sighed with relief as we began our climb up the hill.

It was a well managed and maintained cemetery.

The grass was well trimmed.

The path was clear, dry, and easy to follow.

But the thick smoke was everywhere.

Occasionally I could hear the sounds of firecrackers.

Many older people looked solemn and sad.

A few youngsters and children were seen walking and running around rather cheerfully and happily.

*******

I still experienced shortness of breath as I continued to walk up to the tomb.

My wife was ahead of me, though she slowed down a little to encourage me to keep up.

I looked at her with an understanding smile.

*******

We cleared and cleaned the compound.

And kept all the rubbish in black plastic bags.

The engraved words on the marble slab looked dull and faded.

There was nothing we could do since we had forgotten to bring along brush and paints. But we reminded ourselves to do so the next time we came.

My youngest brother had bought new patches of grass to cover the tomb's earth slopes.

Many of us began to discuss how we were to plant the grass......

*******

The memorial service began.

We had no difficulty adapting to each other's way of service, though we came from different religious backgrounds.

We had learned to follow, according to our own beliefs, as much as we could.

No one complained or stayed away.

We prayed and sang a few christian hymns together.

Everyone was satisfied and happily smiling away.

Then we talked about how we could improve our memorial service the next time we met.

*******

We had our gathering in a coffee shop before we said farewell.

We had meal together and another round of talking, laughing and sharing.

And we enjoyed the joy of brotherhood and sisterhood.

We enjoyed the harmony, peace and love of a big family.

*******

Not many can understand.

But we do.

And we would like to keep our unity together, forever.

1 comment:

Amrit said...

hi,
Unity is a strength of everyone...so i wish ur family will remain united always... i luv my elder bro sooo much bt he is presently doing his studies in London .... n i miss him..