The One With The Family & A Funeral

Uncle's Funeral

As much as it was a sad occasion, the passing on of my uncle has brought my entire family together. I cannot remember the last time my mother, sister, brother, and various aunts and cousins gathered at one place.

Benjamin Franklin Parkway

My uncle has worked in Canada and the States for about ten years. During that period, the only time I saw him was when I visited New York in spring last year. It was only a day trip to Philadelphia – I was busy taking in the sights of the town while he spent most of it yakking on the phone – but little did I know it would be the last time I will see him alive.

A sudden stroke rendered him in a coma some time earlier this year. Part by part of his body deteriorated and it was evident he will not survive the trauma. My mother, the superwoman that she was, made the decision to keep him alive until he passed his own birthday (it’s a Chinese belief) and then donated four of his organs, before cremating him and brought him back to his home in Ipoh.

(P.S.: For the record, I have signed the organ donor pledge, donating four of the seven eligible organs; heart, lung, liver and kidneys. If you have not done so, take it from me; the relief for the family will be immense, you get some karma in afterlife, and most importantly, other suffering folks get another stab of life because of your decision. Make the pledge today and decide it for yourself, don’t leave the torment to your family).

If you have not seen death in its face, you will not understand the kind of pain and torture my mom had to go through, alone, in a foreign land. When I got to know the news, I wanted to cancel my Europe trip and be in New Jersey, to be there for her. But both of us know that move will make little sense.

So I waited till the funeral, which was held over the recent weekend.

Uncle's Funeral

After two years of absence from Ipoh, ever since I moved to Hong Kong, the family gathering was a special moment of my life. Yes, it was a painful ritual the entire family has to go through, but it was also very memorable to me.

At Lumut Seafront

Memorable because it affirmed me of what my mom meant to me. Mom, know that I will always love and be there for you.

Family Portrait

Memorable because it showed me the person my younger brother and sister are, and can be, despite of whatever happened in the past.

At Lumut Seafront

Memorable because it reminded me that, now that my uncle has passed on, I’m the role model for my cousins. I need to be there for them as they grow up and build their own lives.

Family Portrait

Memorable because it amazed me how my entire family got together, has loved and be loved because of the bond that tie us together.

As I make my way back to Hong Kong, I left with a heavy heart and yet hopeful… for what the future may hold for each of us, for the people we aspire to and can be.

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