First funeral06 Mar, 2013 02:27 AM
Recently I went to my grandfather's funeral. He was 97 years old, and he was hospitalized a few weeks before death. He had 5 daughters, one of which is my mom, whom I love very much, of course. He had some gallbladder problem or something and was dehydrated when my aunts admitted him to the hospital. He got a bit worse, then got better, and began recovering. I saw him while he was recovering once, and he said his signature line, "Long time no see!" in raspy English. (my family is Chinese-cantonese, and all the adults in both sides of my family came from China.) He seemed to be getting better when I saw him, and I told him that he'd made it this far, he'd definitely get better. He shook his head and whispered in Cantonese, "No use." I almost cried then, but my mom had been there for days, hadn't come home for days, and was still dry-eyed, so I stayed strong. But I knew it in my heart that moment.
Two weeks later, 9:00 p.m., I was typing up a paper, and my dad called and said he was critical again. We rushed all the way back to my old town where we used to live before we moved, and to JFK hospital where he was. We called him Gong, meaning father of your mother in Chinese. He was given morphine by the doctor, and I knew he was actually dying-morphine, the painkiller, hospice. The words flooded my heart! I held his hand and put this little charm in his hand, he couldn't even grasp it! I had to wrap his fingers around it. He was also wearing an oxygen mask and breathing so fast he scared me. My mom was there, her sisters were all there, my cousins (which were all older than me, because my mom is the second to youngest sister) were all there, and they looked tired and scared. I was so afraid. Me and my dad left after a while. It was a long way home. I prayed to gods I didn't believe in because I was so scared. I prayed to God, Buddha, even Zeus! I was just so afraid. We got home, I took a shower, and settled down in my art room and tried to make a mini cake from my air-dry clay while listening to some music on my dads IPhone, and then my mom texted him. "Gong has been a few minutes now."
I felt like someone was squeezing my heart. I showed it to my dad, who read it for a few minutes over and over again and then he murmured "s***. He's gone." I was so sad and he was so sad. I had no words. He didn't say anything more. It was more than horrible to us. I Face timed my brother, who is in medical school in Antigua. He recently came home for the funeral, which was held at a fancy Chinese-style funeral home in Queens, NY. It was my first. We folded and burned ceremonial money, prayed and bowed hundreds of times, and looked at Gong's body. They had put makeup on him,a nd it made me furious. Lipstick?! Foundation?! I knew it all. I behaved pretty well according to my brother, and when we put Gong in the ground I finally cried. I'd put on liquid eyeliner, bad idea but whatever, so it looked like I was crying black tears. I still can't believe it, he was always around. He was there when I was born and there on my first day of school and me and my mom took him for brunch every weekend, even after we moved. The people from his favorite restaurant came, and condolences were sent from everyone. I still feel so sad though...but what could I have done?