11.15 p.m. – No way am I going to let my mother spent her last night alone. All the talks about the place unsafe did freaked me out a bit but it also really made my blood boiled. I took a machete and kept in inside my backpack. In my frame of mind at that moment in time, I would have been happy if someone were to turn up to rob us. I would have gladly took it out on him. No one is going to stop me from spending the last night with my mother. May, CC and LH accompanied me. SP wanted to go as well but we forbid her from joining as we did not want her to get into trouble with her parents since they were so adamant on not going.
The parlour was deserted (the dead person the night before had left for the rinal resting place earlier that day) when we arrived. I got the caretaker to lock the gates.
12.00 a.m. We took turns to burn the joss papers and we took turns to sleep as we continued our wake. I continue to glance into the casket at regular intervals as I know the moment would not last and I will not have the chance to see her anymore.
4.00 a.m. – There was a constant honking at the gates. Who were they? Someone who wanted to rob us would not be announcing their arrival so loudly. Anyway, I checked out the gates and found a van delivering a body. I went back to call the caretaker, the gates were opened and the body was promptly brought in wrapped in a blanket.
It felt kind of eerie to encounter a body being brought in the early hours of the morning and the people in the van then left, leaving the body unattended in the compartment next to ours, covered with only a blanket. What’s wrong with people nowadays? Where are the relatives? It felt so sad for the dead to be left alone. What’s the point of having kids if they are going to abandon you in old age and when you die.
6.00 a.m. – Was burning joss paper when the van people returned with burial clothes. Could hear them changing the dead. They were saying “Turn him over”, “Lift” and “Higher” intersperse with gossips about someone they know.
7.15 a.m. – SP and her hubby came over to replace us. Sent LH and CC back to the house for them grab some rest. May and I didn’t feel like returning to the house so we went for quick breakfast and returned to the parlour.
9.30 a.m. – More well wishes turned up. Jenny G came with a complete list of condolence donations from my office. CY had arranged for that. There was also flowers from my office. Eddie and Moses turned up and I was pleasantly surprised especially with Moses whom I have known only in passing.
The prayers continued and I was wearing shorts. I chided by the monk and was told to wear long pants to show more respect. Well, my mother wouldn’t have minded. Nevertheless, I managed to borrow a pair of black pants.
12.30 p.m. – They called for the final viewing where we asked to put in yellow joss papers into the casket with sandal wood. It was customary for the loved ones to say their final farewell here. My sisters were weeping away but I have not shed a single tear since mother died. I just stood there in a daze staring at mother, knowing very well that it would be the last time I see her before she is forever gone except in memories.
2.00 p.m. – The funeral procession started. The casket was loaded unto the hearse as we started our last walk with mother. The walk was extremely short, only about 200 meters before we switched to our cars. It was a bright shining day. It was a small affair. A convoy of half a dozen vehicles.
My mother actually wanted a cremation. She had mentioned it to me and to LS. But my cousin LK vetoed the cremation because we had purchased a dual plot when my father died and LK stressed that we cannot leave the plot unused or it will bring bad luck. So much for the old beliefs. Of course, my sister TH and brother CC would believe anything LK told them. Even-though my mother wanted a cremation and I guess it doesn’t really matter anymore. When you are dead, you are dead. So rather than creating a fuss and a crisis amongst the living, LS and I decided to follow the ‘belief’. The only consolation is that my father finally has a companion behind him. God Bless His Soul.
2.45 p.m. – We arrived at the Sendayan Cemetery where the burial went on smoothly. I finally could hold back the tears. I wept unashamedly when we were told to say our finals farewell and that it was time to leave the cemetery. It marked the end of a generation. My mother was really the last one from her generation. It started to rain when we left the cemetery. It appeared so perfect with the sun shining all the way and for the rain to start only after the casket was laid in the ground.
It was all over. My mother has been laid to rest.
Well, it was all over for my mother but not for the living, life goes on.
Things are never that simple. Loose ends needed to be tied up. I needed to solve the problem of the over dosed maid. I was required to bring the monk to the house in Mentakab to cleanse the place and to invite my mother’s soul back to Seremban. There will be also some freaky stuff awaiting for us ahead.
To be continued in – To Capture the Soul