Joe’s Grandfather – Helen’s Father has passed away
I am much more comfortable sharing good news, travel news or basically things that make us smile.
Joe’s “Gong Gong” or Grandfather passed away last Saturday and I am in Melbourne assisting where possible with the ceremonial aspects of what is a traditional Chinese funeral ceremony.
This involves the preparation of costumes for the ceremony and the ceremonial dressing of my Father in Law which will take place tomorrow.
The actual funeral takes place over two days, Saturday and Sunday.
I have always felt accepted into the Chau family and the natural expectation that I perform part of the ritual associated with sending my Father in Law to his next life is a strengthening event for our family and one I know my Father in Law would be proud of.
He would be able to say that he contributed to the family acceptance in the same way my parents have been of a wonderful multicultural family life that we enjoy.
http://youtu.be/zvOL0WVe3zQ is a video I have prepared and with the new (old) photos I have seen, expect other tribute videos to be posted.
To show that technology is absolutely part of our lives in life and death… we used wechat to be able to say goodbye to my Father in Law and Helen’s Father… not by phone, but by video, right into the hospital bed. Joe was able to say goodbye as well, saying ” Wo ai ni” I love you – to Gong Gong or Grandad.
We have a website established through Le Pine for Lang Chau and people can join and post tributes. This is also something that is a reflection of changing times. Rather than secret the funeral event we will be filming it as part of family expectation. This is my first family funeral and the emotion is there, but there is also the sense of duty in what needs to be carried out from a family ceremony perspective.
This is evidenced by the fact that we have been shopping all day and special clothing is being made now (after 11:30 pm ) for the body preparation ceremony tomorrow that will involve the males dressing Lang Chau. The women of the family will be there, but not to participate.
Personally I feel sadness and relief, knowing how much my Father in Law suffered in the recent years. I have prepared media clips and this commentary with respect and without tears. Not because I am tough, but I know I am contributing something to preserve his memory and that his Grandchildren who all love him dearly have a digital anchorpoint which offers much more in terms of interacting with someone than a photograph.
Each patriarch or matriarch has a series of phrases they hold dear to their heart and want to share with their grandchildren. Be it “Be kind to your Father and look after your Mother” those words spoken and captured make a generational memory that is special.
So although this is time of sadness, we acknowledge the inevitability and celebrate the legacy, smiles and achievements that not only my Father in Law made, but his family who are great.