Can it be so bad to die at 88? In Asian cultures, 88 symbolises fortune and prosperity (that's why the Beijing Olympics opened on 8/8/08). But all those 8s were not so fortuitous for the late Aunt K. Or were they? Was death a precious release? Truth is, there was too much dignity and deportment shown by her progeny during the funeral. All four of her seeds wept in silence, solemnly and to themselves as people of good upbringing so often do. I am often suspicious yet somehow strangely comforted when upbringing triumphs over despair. There is strange consolation when order and dignity are chosen over chaos.
But what can I know of the funeral party's real feelings? After all, I had only seen Aunt K several times in my life, and those times were so long ago. She was such a quiet woman who had not left much of an imprint on my memory. Her four children, however, had an abundance of joy in their youth that made me feel somewhat lacking as an only child. There was much warmth in their large living room. Well, at least it seemed large then when I was only 10.
Surely they had taken their togetherness for granted for the three sons had scattered across the globe and the daughter felt weary from having to deal with her mother's health problems alone.
The funeral reunion brought them together. The last time had been at a wedding or some baptism, I think. Now they were grey-haired, no longer boisterous or looking like they had once had fun. So dignified and grave. Reserved.
Once again, I remembered my own age and cringed at life's inevitable cycle. Oh, the irony that this boring woman lived so long, when Alexander and Vivi had died so young even though they were so memorable...but,
Unable to handle this thought and incapable of handling the feeling that I was voyeur to other people's pain I looked away. And then I left, leaving them to deal with their loss. After this blog entry I may even forget about it... After all, I knew Aunt K so little and was never quite drawn to know more.