Monday, April 09, 2007

Rice and salt in paper packets

Funeral noise is still going on downstairs; lots of people are in the house. I'm holed up in my parents' bedroom trying to get away from it, but the voices are still soaking up through the stairway.

It wasn't so bad. We went for the visitation in the morning. He didn't really look like he was sleeping, which is what everyone always says about the deceased. No corny pinstriped or red plaid pajamas, no slippers by the side of the pillow, no loud snoring. Everyone cried softly in a mix of Tagalog, Fookien, English, and Mandarin. We went through the rosary and a few boxes of tissues. There were shreds of kleenex scattered on the chair cushions because the grandkids had to keep pulling them out so fast to keep up with the demand.

The coffin was closed; we had the funeral mass, and my 18-year-old brother and 20-year-old cousin were pallbearers ("it's very heavy," I was told when I asked if they needed help). My dad gave the eulogy. He actually had folks laughing through most of it. I carried up some of the offertory (which involved picking up a container of wine, turning around, walking two feet, and handing it to the priest) and collected envelopes afterwards. There wasn't much to do.

On the way back we stopped to rub paper packets of rice and salt over our suits (a Chinese tradition to nullify bad luck) and dropped them in the garbage bin outside the Jewel-Osco.

It's odd to be the only one in my family that's coming in from the outside; my mom was there right when he had the heart attack, my brother drove to the ER, my dad got to the hospital not long afterwards, and I'm a week late. Last night dad was up writing the eulogy in the loft (next to where my mattress was) and having a hard time because he said he'd been taking care of so many of the arrangements that he wasn't able to let himself open up and feel hurt.

I don't feel deeply grieved or anything, but I've been having a hard time working. I brought all my books and my paper outlines and suchlike, but my productivity this weekend has been... not zero, but very close to it. I can't do much but stare at my screen and read books (mechanically, and not very fast; I feel like I'm just pushing my eyes across the page and nothing's sinking in). Just trying to get away from the people that have been coming into the house all weekend, and the noise, and the constant sympathies. I even went to sleep at 10pm (!!!) last night trying to get away from it, intending to wake up early and work, but turns out the adults woke up before I did (I guess when you're mourning, you don't sleep very much).

At least there are dishes to clear and babies to play with and Disney movies to watch with the little ones that have come over with their parents. And I have a meeting for class right after I get back to campus. Stayin' busy.

On a less depressing note, I got the new Thunderbird today. It looks fantastic; the UI is much more space-efficient (particularly with the miniBird icon set displayed without text). I love how one of the installation steps is "cleaning out the birdcage" (deleting old files, I assume). And they finally have message tagging! Now if only it and Firefox wouldn't be such huge memory hogs.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

*hugs*