Unforgetful Memory

Janet - Springdale, Arkansas
Entered on October 28, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: death
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I believe even on the saddest of days, the heavens still shine upon us. I was seven or six when this event happened, my first Buddhist funeral. The news didn’t hit me as bad, but I was informed that day that my great grandmother had died. At that time I didn’t really understand the meaning of losing something. During that week my relatives were planning ceremonies and everybody was under stress.

Everyday, everybody in my family (even distant relatives) came all around for the ceremonies of my great grandmother’s death. We would have these long ceremonies each day. I didn’t think all these planning were a big deal actually.

A few days passed and it was finally time to go to the funeral home. Everybody was completely anxious to get it over with. When the time came all my relatives were dressed up. The men were in orange suits and white suits for women. It was awkward to walk into the room with people wearing black. A lot of people smiled at us as we walked down the path to take our seats.

The whole service lasted about four hours since it consisted of people talking. I had to say it was boring, but I still prayed like the others. I expected that it was all over but I was wrong. It was time for the burning ceremony. The men who were dressed in orange carried the coffin. On the other hand the women in the white had to hold a string connected to the coffin. We all carried it until we arrived into a gigantic garage. We noticed that all the people who wore black were way behind us. The coffin was dragged inside and settled into the center. Everybody gathered around to settle their hands on the closed coffin. In each hand was a single unlighted candle. We prayed some more but only for a short period. Soon enough everybody had to back away. We all ended up outside but still had a great view of the garage. I wasn’t able to see very much since I was much too little. Finally I looked at saw my auntie Xay walking towards a machine.

She pressed a huge button and looked at everybody. There was a lot of heads nodding. So she did what she was told and pushed the button. This loud rumble noise suddenly blasted everywhere. It was a very irritating screeching noise. Yet it didn’t seem to bother me. The coffin was on fire and I finally realized what the burning ceremony meant. The air was filled with burned particles and everybody held their hands to their face to prevent from smelling it. My cousin who was standing next to me burst into tears. I knew this was going to be a long painful day for my family.

After the whole thing, everybody had a sad trip to my grandma’s house again. Yet, we still prayed, but only the adults this time. I still remembered that I and my cousins, and my grandpa stayed home and the adults went to some relatives’ house to get their minds off that day.

Now, few years has passed and I hand learned what losing something means. It’s only the circle of life and it’ll happen from generations to generations to come. I bet a lot of my family members still remember that faithful day. It’s sad to think, but the heavens will never be sad on a happy day. Even though I was a small child, I’ll always remember the memories of my great grandmother.