A funeral

Few days ago, we received a call from grandmother (my mother’s side) that her second brother which is my mom’s uncle and my great uncle, had passed away. His sudden death came as a bit of shock to all of us. I remember the last time (a few months ago) I saw him when he came to the city for a medical check up along with my grandparents, he looked well and healthy. He didn’t have problems walking as compared to my grandfather who is battling with Parkinson’s, diabetes and the three ‘highs’.

Apparently, during a morning walk on Thursday, all of a sudden, he started coughing and vomiting while having cold sweats then, he fainted. He was rushed to a hospital and due to some complications, when the doctors tried to resuscitate him, it was futile. In the end, he was sent home so that he can breathe his last in the company of his family.

Before his burial, we went back to my hometown on Saturday to attend his funeral. It was a one-day trip and personally, I don’t like one-day trips if the destination takes up about 3 hours to get to and fro. But, my mom has prior work engagements on Sunday so one-day trip it was. We took turns driving and on the way back, in order to avoid some terrible traffic congestion on the freeway, we ended up on a backroad where there were no streetlights. Thank goodness we got out of there before sundown because driving on a backroad at night reminds me of those creepy scenes from a horror movie.

At the funeral, the atmosphere was grim and gloomy. I saw my great uncle lying in the coffin. He wasn’t super pale like my great grandmother when I was at hers many years ago. It looked like he was in a deep slumber. When his youngest brother (I’ll call him Alan) who is also my other great uncle, heard about this, he flew straight back home for his funeral. Now mind you, Alan was travelling in South Africa. When he arrived, he had not sleep for almost two days, and his eyes were red. After he entered the house where the coffin was at, I heard a loud sob. It was heartbreaking and the rest of the family members weep as well. My mom had told me how Alan is a man that cherishes family ties and he was close to all of his siblings.

Like any Asian family events, gossips will always ensue. This time, it’s about my grandmother’s third brother (which is also my other great uncle, I’ll call him Abel). He was in the same tour group as Alan in South Africa. While Alan didn’t hesitate to fly straight home, considering there would be no refunds and, getting a plane ticket last minute is definitely gonna be pricey, Abel chose to stay behind. I’m quite stupefied by this. It’s your brother’s funeral, how can you not go back? It got me wondering how is Abel gonna enjoy his trip when his brother is to be buried on Sunday. Isn’t he afraid that this guilt is gonna live with him for the rest of his remaining years? This also showed me, when push comes to shove, people’s true colours will show, even if it’s your own family. Tsk tsk.

Rest in peace, great uncle.

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