To the departed

It was agreed that we will all meet and leave at 5am this time around as last year we were stuck in traffic just outside the cemetery. I woke up at 3 am and decided to just get up then. My parents were already awake, mom was preparing the sandwiches for everyone’s breakfast/snack. I caught the BNP Paribas Paris match between Djokovic and Murray. The game concluded before we left, Djokovic won the match. We were the first stop, so we had to leave earlier to gather with others. We arrived quite early at the cemetery with no traffic. I like the travel to the outskirts of the city because it imbibes meditation.

People camp out in tents, with umbrellas and picnic mats underneath the scorching sun. It’s always like this on the 1st of November, the weather is hot, the sky is blue and the clouds fluffy, a little drizzle in between and then sunny again.

Each have their own way of paying respect to their departed loved ones. We offer flower, food (fruits, dishes and biscuits), burn candles, incense and kim (paper money), and also eat lunch together. This time, they decided to just eat there and wait for the big candles to burn. Some fly kites, hang out or chat, or take a walk. The air is refreshing despite the smoke from the burning incense and candles and it was a good day to be away from the city. The taho and dirty ice cream vendor passes by with their bells ringing inviting people to have a trip down memory lane. We used to enjoy eating taho and dirty ice cream when we were kids. Some sell other foods like peanuts, a few stalls from fastfood chains and then there are also balloons around the area. We all seem to have slept on the way back to the city, I am grateful for this moment of rest.

To our departed loved ones, I hope they could continue to look after us, to strengthen the bond among us as our number decreases over the years. Some have left this fertile earth, some have decided to leave the country. May we treasure the chance to commune with one another even when everyone’s busy with each of their own lives. May each one learn to pause and reflect of the blessings we receive each day and be truly grateful. May God grant us comfort and peace in our hearts in this solemn time. Somehow, this day reminds us to slow down our footsteps and appreciate the good things in life.

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