Sunday, April 08, 2012

Qingming Festival & My Extended Family

I appreciate Qingming Festival as I grew older. It is part of our Chinese Tradition that should be preserved and passed on to the future generations. It is a good time for family members to get together and show our gratitude to our deceased relatives and ancestors. It is also a reminder of the importance of family ties as well as filial piety.

This is my first time visiting Indonesia during Qingming Festival to pay my respects to my deceased maternal grandparents as well as my deceased relatives.

My maternal grandmother

Last October, I wrote about my maternal grandmother. She was a wonderful and strong person. My eldest aunt was moved to tears when she told us (younger generation) how great a person my maternal grandmother was. In fact, my maternal grandmother was raised in a good family in China and she was literate (which was a rarity for women of her time). Unfortunately, she had to work very hard to raise 4 young children single-handedly, and she passed away before she could enjoy the fruit of her labour.

My maternal grandfather

This is my first time visiting the grave of my maternal grandfather, who passed away almost 50 years ago. I had never met him and was curious about him. For many years, the only thing I knew about him was he died young because he was alcoholic. During this trip, I learnt that he was literate and had a good handwriting, and he was a smart person who had the skill of repairing watches.

When I looked at maternal grandfather, I felt an instant connection with him. Among my extended family, I am the ONLY person who inherits a unique physical characteristic of my maternal grandfather – a protruding lower jaw (which I prefer not to have). It is a funny feeling to be at the grave of someone whom I have never met, and yet, I know that he is part of me. 

My nieces and nephews (children of my cousins) were having fun running around the graveyard and asking innocent questions. They are reminders of the renewal process of life. Soon, my generation would be replaced by them.  And soon, they would be replaced as well.

This is the law of the Impermanence of Life.

I am thankful and grateful to spend quality time with my extended family, and staying at my aunt’s place, where I felt familiar and safe. Even though we did not have time to meet often, we had so much to share and talk that we talked deep into the night.

Family has always been an important pillar of my life, and it will always be. 
Always remember to show gratitude to my family.
Thankful to be born in a family of good people.

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