Out of respect, for the family who’d raised her, a final rite of passage here, translated…
One afternoon, the phone rang at my house, on the other end, came the voice of a woman, “Hello, youngest uncle! Long time no see………” Wow, could it be, again? The woman seemed to have felt my concerns, she’d immediately added, “Youngest uncle, I’m not a scammer, I’m………”, and the voice, it had, sounded, a whole lot like my niece all right. “My mother’s in critical condition, since she fell ill, she’d been telling me, that after she passes, to ask you to help her ‘nail her coffin down.’”.
Then the past all came, rushing back to me, my eldest sister was adopted, I don’t have that many memories of her, by the time I was born, she was already, married away, or, maybe, I should say, she’d, eloped. Back then, she wasn’t getting along with my eldest brother of twenty years senior, she’d fallen in love with a man in the factory she worked in, in those times, the neighbors, our relatives, families, and friend all chatted on and on, my father felt that he’d, lost face, and, claimed that she wasn’t, related to him anymore; and even so, as my eldest sister’s eldest daughter who was at the same age that I am, she’d taken her home to see our parents, and my parents no longer, felt angered anymore. It’s just, that my eldest sister didn’t marry well, her husband didn’t take care of her family, and, she’d, insisted on not receiving any assistance from our parents, used her cooking skills, started a market food stand, raised her five young up.
The following day, I’d, immediately gone to the hospital to visit my eldest sister, being ill, she’d talked with happiness, on the parents who’d, raised her up, and, regretted how she didn’t, treat them with kindness, and recalled everything she experienced back at our home, in the end, she’d, asked me, to seal her coffin up with a nail symbolically, and naturally, I’d agreed to it.
A week later, my eldest sister passed on, and, in the funeral, my niece started crying, told me, “As you’d gone to see mom that day at the hospital, she was so happy, kept chiming on about how you’d agreed, to help seal up her coffin, how she finally, had a true family of origin…………”
“Sealing the coffins with nails” was originally something that was done for unwed women who’d died, having the male siblings of her own family to check to see if they’d been, abused to death, if there wasn’t sign of foul play, then, the male siblings would then, nail in the nails around the coffin, and this became a sort of a ritual out of courtesy of the deceased woman’s respect toward her own family of origin. At this very moment, I’d, finally, come to understanding of why my eldest sister requested that I be the one, who’d, helped her complete, this most important ritual of her life that came after her death, this was, her deep love, her remembrances, of our, parents.
And so, this, is a ritual of the family, and the woman was adopted, and, she’d, married badly, and, despite how she’d, gone against her own adoptive parents’ wishes, they’d still, loved her wholeheartedly, and, accepted her back into the family, and, the niece asked the uncle to nail her own mother’s coffin, not just as a way of fulfilling her own mother’s, final wishes, but it was, a sign of respect the woman had for her own family which she was, raised in.