My grandmother was buried the other day and yesterday, a ritual has been performed by the elders so that the family members can resume our lives, so to speak. I’ll talk more about that in a different post.
These past few days, I haven’t mingled with anyone else except with family and relatives. And if there’s one thing that I have observed that got me dumbstruck because of being so obvious I haven’t realized it before is that: we are all control-freaks. LOL! Somehow, it was a trait that stood out from majority of the descendants of my grandmother.
On a more serious note though, death in the family tests out the patience and brings out the solidarity of a family. I’ve seen how each and everyone pitched in to help during the wake. From overseeing the food, ensuring that there’s always hot coffee for the people who came to pay their respects, cleaning up and tidying the kitchens, running to the grocery and the wet market to get stuff needed, and even consoling each and everyone who suddenly felt the grief of losing out grandmother. We may not see each other all the time, we don’t get to spend time all together and only get to do so during family events, but at the end of the day, we all have each other’s backs. I’ve seen it, I’ve felt it, I was given that assurance.
Family is such a beautiful thing. We all have our quirks that may be annoying to some but appealing to others. We dislike someone more than another but we still choose to be together. Those quirks are complemented by someone else’s quirks, too. I’ve learned to give in to a few demands but also stood my ground on others. There were situations that were awkward and annoying that we had to let slide, there were mistakes that we needed to let go, there were things that we agreed upon.
Having been in a matriarchal clan for so long, I have seen the resilience of the women in our family. I have also seen how our male in-laws wholeheartedly gave their time and effort for the whole duration of the wake and never questioned or even asked for anything in return. I somehow saw a little bit of my grandmother in each and everyone of us.
Death is indeed a time of sadness and grief. But at the same time, death is a celebration of life. My grandmother’s life was not an easy one but she loved all of us in her own way. Her death has brought upon an opportunity for all those who survived her to spend time with each other, to reminisce the memories we have and to strengthen the bond.
Nobody welcomes you home so warmly like a family, even in death.