(one of the many shrines that was on exhibit at the South Broadway Cultural Center)
I've reached that age in my life where there are too many names on my list of those who have gone before me. And, as I continue to get older, that list will inevitably grow longer at a faster rate. And, it doesn't get any easier to say goodbye.
My grandfather died when I was only four years old. His funeral was a BIG funeral. Everyone in our village was there for it. Most of us don't have many things we remember about being four years old. But, I distinctly remember my grandfather's funeral. Especially at the graveyard. The priest saying prayers. Everyone gathered around the hole that was dug. The coffin being lowered in to the grave. The flowers and everyone ceremoniously throwing a handful of dirt onto the coffin. Such a strong memory.
By the time I was born, my grandfather was already suffering from an illness. He was bedridden and my grandmother took care of him. She would massage him with wintergreen oil/rubbing alcohol. So, my memory of Tatay (that's what we called him which is Filipino for grandfather), was of him being in bed or a wheelchair (in that teeny tiny house). I don't even remember him having a voice or saying anything. Isn't that odd? He seemed to always be silent. Before he got ill, he was a formidable man-tall in stature and big on influence.
I wonder how it would have been had he not been ill when I was born. Would I have known him better and had a stronger impression of who he really was? I will never know, but I do remember that he was the first to pass.
Every weekend throughout the month of October, a group of us actively practice the art of remembering by way of a post. Stop by our host's site, Rebecca. An amazing woman with an amazing heart and soul. From her site, you can visit others who have done a post in regards to the art of remembering-you can see how each of us approach the subject. I think you will find it heartwarming and full of positive, loving energy.