A trip to the temple this time of the year, a yearly affair. We’ve been doing this, ever since we moved out of the previous apartment and our current house no longer has an altar.
Even though I’m long used to the routine – setting up the fruits and flowers, lighting up the joss stick to pray, burning paper money at the furnace – something felt different this year. Every year, I make the same prayer to my paternal grandparents, and every time I do so, I get a bit teary, especially when I’m faced with the fact that my parents are constantly growing older. With each passing year, I earnestly hope that my prayers get answered even when I don’t believe in such things.
Sometimes I wonder if they do even come true, especially after what happened in 2008 and last year. But I can only hold on to that hope and make the same prayer, twice every year.
This time round, I looked hard at the photographs of my paternal grandparents, and I realised, my grandmother started to look a little unfamiliar from what I last remembered of her, when I was 7. My grandfather passed away before I was even born, so there’s only one image of him etched in my memory. My grandmother though, appears in blurry flashbacks; her face I can’t quite remember anymore. I still remember the fateful day when she passed away, the stretcher in her room. I just woke up in the morning, and didn’t quite grasp what was going on. Things then hit me when the wake took place, and all I remember now was how I cried a lot and got really tired from all the crying.
I start to wonder, how many more years am I going to continue this tradition. Am I going to do this for my parents? I don’t know. To me, it’s just something I’m told to do – I just tag along with my parents and do the same things without thinking. When we were still at the old house, we sort of had a family bonding session, folding golden ingots together. Now, we don’t do that anymore. I don’t really see the purpose of the tradition, but I guess we just do it anyway.
On a lighter note, I went to the kitchen in the wee hours of the morning yesterday and thought to myself, “Time of the year again.” (No prizes for guessing who was the hungry ghost that night). And then, my brother stealthily came from behind and scared the hell out of me. Gee, thanks.