It's now 4.15 pm. Just got back from my father's shophouse, to "transfer" my mother to her "Treasure Box".
"It's a Treasure Box!" my 3 year-old grand daughter yelled excitedly with American accent acquired from marathon watching Playhouse Disney Channel!
"Yes! It's a Treasure Box!!" confirm this grand father, "and Chor Chor (Great Grandma ) is going inside, Hooray!!"
All the scary cats didn't seem to know what to do. They were being led blindly by the undertakers, except this "unfilial son of a grandfather ", if you don't get it, it's me.
Yesterday (9 July 2008) at 5pm. my mother was happy to leave her fragile body. She was 83 years old. My second sister and I were happy too! You see it very much depends on the manner you view life. It has been close to 2 years after we took back our mother after she was unceremoniously dumped in an old folks home. Aiyah don't want to repeat the sob story. If you are not bored already by now you can click here for the post I wrote about my mother.
My second sister and I were too happy to have the privilege to take care of my mother for her final 2 years. It was a pleasure. Thank you mother. But frankly, at times the unthinkable thoughts did surface. So must not be like the politicians, "I never lied!"
My mother died in my house. So as a matter of respect, my second sister and I went to consult the "really old man". "Really old man " means my father. I have to add "really" because I am old as well. But compared with my father, I am of course young!! The "really old man" said , "No no no, we must have a meeting and decide where to place the mother." The long meeting lasted 2 seconds (must be a world record!) when the "older old man" said with a sense of authority, " Put mother here in the shophouse." Aiyoh, have to explain two terms here: "older old man" refers to the eldest brother. Since I am "old man" and my father is the "really old man", then this eldest brother has got to be the "older old man". Get it?? What about "a sense of authority"? Well the "older old man" never seems to have a clear direction in life, but yesterday's decision was a gem. I think he must be improving in his karaoke lately, which I often saw him entering the "singing house" just down the road where I live.
Immediately after my mother passed away, I put up a "bulletin" in my two blogs that I was taking a 7-day emergency "leave". Wah! felt so important lah! Must announce to the world that something important has crept up! I was just kidding myself to feel important, you see? As all of you know, my blogs are actually "ghost town" blogs, well, until the Great Monsterball came a visiting. Thank you Monsterball, The Great!! Actually, because Monsterball is celebrating his birthday this Saturday, my purpose of the "Bulletin" was to say sorry to him for unable to send him a birthday cake thru this blog. Nevermind now. Monsterball, your cake is on the way, come this Saturday!
My mother died in my house, and now the "older old man" wants her in the shophouse! I was actually delighted! That means I don't have to mess up my house, and best of all, I can continue blogging!! That's why I am enjoying writing this now! Ha! ha! ha! ha! Aiyoh, Justin Choo so terrible!! Mother died and he is telling the world he is enjoying himself! Despite him being a Dhamma teacher! Dhamma teacher means one who teaches Buddhism. On a more serious note: I have done the most important and relevent duty as a son for his mother; taking good care of her when she was alive. She gasped during her last moment under my arms. Have chanted for her daily, well almost. (Must be honest again like the politicians.) Sometimes too engrossed in blogging and internet, I forgot!!
Knowing her time was approaching when the doctor told me she was unconscious, I did a session of more serious chanting for her, and then invited two Sri Lankan monks to perform the final blessings at about 1 pm. By 5pm my mother was happy to go. And I was happy too. No more suffering!
My second sister being a retired tutor nurse and past Principal of a Nursing School, had no fear of dead body, and knew exactly what to do. We washed our mother and put her in her clean clothes. Everthing was just simple, clean and tidy. So the "older old man" came about past 10pm for the body. I told the undertakers to spare me 5 minutes. I closed the door of the room, knelt down beside my mother and did some chanting, went over to her head and kissed her forehead. I then told the undertakers that I would put my mother on the awaiting stretcher. With my sister and the help of the undertakers we transferred her to the stretcher, while the "older old man" just looked on helplessly.
Just now at the shophouse, before transferring my mother to her "Treasure Box" I again asked the undertakers to give me a few minutes. I bent over and put my palms over my mother's cheeks, recite a short Buddhist blessing and again kissed my mother's forehead to say thank you and good bye, mother. Then with the help of the undertakers, we put mother to rest. Happily after that, I said good bye to all of them, and here I am, happily typing away for the last 2 hours!
Since I don't have to be present at the shophouse, I quickly deleted the "bulletin' in my two blogs. Of course no one had read it yet, being a "ghost town"!
Now I would like to share a hilarious story told to us by my Dhamma teacher, the late Chief Reverend Dr. Dhammananda of the Brickfields Buddhist Maha Vihara. Once, some relatives of this man who had passed away, approached the Chief Reverend to seek his advice on "body snatching". They told Chief that some Christians claimed that that man was a converted Christian; and to make matters worse, the Muslims also went to claim the body saying that this man had converted to Islam!
You know what the Chief said? "We Buddhists never fight over dead bodies!!"
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sama Sambuddhassa
Homage To The Buddha, The Fully Enlightened One
As a Buddhist the departing phrase is this:
Tesamvupa Samo Sukho
(All component things are indeed transient
They are of the nature of arising and decaying
Having come into being, they cease to be
The cessation of this process is bliss!)
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
May I dedicate again my favourite song "Ma Ma Hao" to my mother. May she be reborn in a happy and peaceful abode; and may she one day attain the final release...Nibbana!