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Thu 30 Mar 2017
The Funeral, the Final Day
Written by Gor   
Tuesday, 14 May 2002 00:00

The seventh and last day for my great grandmum’s funeral. I went to the temple with my girlfriend. I asked her to come to help with the work. We were there quite early but not early enough to have a rest first. Tai went straight to help my mum in the kitchen while I went to help my dad prepare flowers made from thin pieces of wood or dok mai jan in Thai. Watching us was a group of novice monks, nehn. I looked at them and then I started to laugh when I saw my brother, Guy or nehn Guy, I should say. He was the fattest novice monk in the group.

A few hours passed. The monks had finished chanting. The details about my great grandmum were read out on the microphone by one of my relations. While she was reading it, some people started to go up to the crematorium to put dok mai jan under my great grandmum’s coffin. My aunt’s little daughter was standing by the steps giving out a souvenir to everyone when they came down.

I waited for a while until there were fewer people, then I went up there with Tai. She asked me while we were walking up what she had to do when she got up there. I laughed at her question. She was a bit grumpy and said that she had never done it before. I told her that what she needed to do is pray for great grandmum to go to heaven and put the flower under the coffin when finished. We came down and got souvenirs from my cousin.

When most people had gone home and there were only close relatives left around, it was time to open the coffin to let everyone see her and say goodbye to her for the last time. Tai said she wanted to take a look. She looked very excited maybe because she had never seen a dead body before so I went up there with her. I took her to the front of the people there. Most of them were very sad. I paid respect to my great grandmum and took a last look at her then I went down to wait for Tai. She came down with a shocked face. I couldn’t see her excited face anymore. I asked her what’s wrong? She replied with a quiet voice saying that she was scared of my great grandmother. I saw her eyes were watering and the tears were about to come out. She told me she would never go to a funeral again.

The coffin was closed and moved inside the crematorium by some people at the temple. Those people then lit the fire. I saw some smoke coming out from the top of the crematorium.

My grandfather was walking up the steps with some of those wooden flowers in his hands. He walked to the fire with tears in his eyes and then put those flowers in the fire. Everyone in the family followed him up and did the same thing. Everyone tried not to cry because Thai people believe that if your tears drop on the dead person, you will make them worried and they will have to swim through your tears to reach heaven.

I felt terrible while I was standing and looking at the fire. I said to myself "I am sorry, great grandmum. I know that I am a terrible great grandson. I should have become a novice monk for you. I should have felt this earlier. Now I can’t really do anything about it. I can’t go back in time to change it. The only thing I can do for you now is pray and make merit for you to help you go to heaven. I shall keep doing that. I promise great grandmum."