Monday, August 07, 2006

After the rain

Understandably, last week was a very messy week for me. I'm still feeling a little shellshocked, so I'm not in an ideal state of mind to blog. However, I also have this compelling need to write everything down to get it off my chest, so I hope my faithful readers will pardon my disorganized thoughts.

Amah's cremation took place last Saturday at the Funeraria Paz. There was a mass and a Buddhist ceremony in the morning. After the mass, there was a slideshow of photos compiled by us grandchildren, and the images of younger, happier days with Amah elicited tears and laughter from everyone. Afterwards, Sa-ko (a.k.a. Saks), Amah's youngest child, delivered the eulogy on behalf of the family. The part that really struck me was when Saks said that perhaps Amah "bore the cross" for us all, throughout all her illness and physical suffering. I thought of the gentle, frail woman who had been the matriarch of the Lim clan, and realized that she who was weakest among us had been the one who held us together for all these years.

Rain had started to fall by the time the pallbearers arrived to take Amah's casket away. I did not get to witness the actual cremation, and did not even get to take part in the short funeral procession, because Monkeys were unlucky that day (times like these, I really hate being part of a traditional Chinese family). A fellow-Monkey cousin and I hid in the lounge at the back as Amah's coffin was borne out of the funeral parlor, and we stayed in the new wing of Paz as the cremation was ongoing in the old wing (my mom, also a Monkey, but of a more stubborn breed, joined the procession anyway). By the time I rejoined the clan, my uncles and my father were leaving to bring Amah's picture to the temple where her ashes would eventually be kept alongside Angkong's.

We all congregated at the temple to eat misua and wait for Amah's ashes. When it was decided that only the adults needed to wait, my cousins and I arranged carpools to return to Greenhills/Acropolis. There was talk of meeting up at Ah-pe's house to play mahjong in honor of Amah (she taught most of us to play), but everyone was tired, and some even sick, so it didn't push through. The 3 of us were dropped off at home, took hot showers, ordered KFC delivery (the misua wasn't exactly a filling lunch), and watched a couple of TNG episodes before I stole a short late-afternoon nap. That night we had dinner with the whole clan at Harbor City, which brought the celebration of Amah's life to a nice close.

It was a long, emotionally draining day. I did not think I would be moved by the funeral proceedings, but I was. I did not think I would cry, but I did. I did not think I would miss Amah that much, but I think I will after all. And I did not think I would derive much meaning from her death, but I look at the legacy of kindness and generosity and love she has left behind, and I now know that it was not her death, but her life that was full of meaning.

Goodbye, Amah. Thank you for everything.


"After the rain has fallen
After the tears have washed your eyes
You'll find that I've taken nothing that
Love can't replace in the blink of an eye
After the thunder's spoken, and
After the lightning bolt's been hurled
After the dream is broken, there’ll
Still be love in the world." -Sting

2 Comments:

At Tuesday, August 08, 2006, Anonymous mishy said...

Hope you're feeling better, both physically & emotionally, Ailee. My condolences to you and your family. Sorry I was not able to drop by Paz last week. Just read your post.

 
At Tuesday, August 08, 2006, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Thanks Mishy. I appreciate the concern. :)

 

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