The love of the family, translated…
Today is the birthday of my father who’s now, up in the heavens, we’d heard, that the first day of arrival into heaven would be the person’s birthday in heaven. And on this day, down here on earth, we call it the day of his untimely demise.
In order to commemorate our dearly beloved father’s fifth birthday, my mother made abalone salad, stewed pork’s feet, fried chicken legs, etc., etc., etc., all of these, my father’s favorite dishes. And, my aunt who enjoyed a good smoke had told us to get three packs of Davidoff, so my father can have a cigarette after his meal and be as ecstatic as an angel. And still, I was extremely certain, that these three packs of cigarettes are going to end up into my aunt’s possession after we’d offered it to my father.
The owner of the convenience store had amazing memory, when my mother and I gone to buy three packs of cigarettes from her, she’d understood, and not taken any money from us for it, said it was a gift for my father.
Then, my mother took me to opposite of where we live, to buy some gold papers, she said, that the daughter who’s married out must prepare extra. The shop owner suggested me not buy the gold papers, but by the gold sticks made with papers.
When every single food item, the cigarettes, the alcohol, and the offerings are set up, everybody offered her/his respects, then we’d have three rounds of drinking, then, it was, the end of the birthday party—burning of the offering papers. My youngest uncle took the lead, my husband came to help out too, my eldest sister came over, what’s more importantly, my mother too, must be there as well. And, the one who’d bought the gold bricks made with paper, the youngest daughter, me, I was responsible for throwing it into the offering can.
Then, the shop owner from the store came to give us some technical tips. She said, that the golden bricks are made from the Chinese gold nuggets, and that we must separate them back into the gold nuggets’ shapes, then, toss them all into the urn to burn, that way, the amount of gold would increase. To tell the truth, none of us knew of this “secret”!
My youngest uncle stated all of a sudden, “Hoo! One, two, three!”, he’d copied the way that my dad counted, he’d also said, that so many pieces of gold nuggets, his eldest brother would have a hard time, keeping track. I couldn’t help but start chuckling, my father’s expressions, his tone of voice, his way of speaking, all of a sudden, came back before my eyes.
“Dad, I miss everything about you, on the day you were born into the heavens, the fifth year, I hope, you’re truly living your afterlife happily!”
And so, instead of facing their losses of a father, of a husband, of a brother, a friend with sorrows and sadness, this family chooses to celebrate the man’s death, a good way to remember someone’s life.