August 13th, 2016 | Funerals, Finality & Family


Light Rain, 29°C

831, Taiwan, 高雄市大寮區

It was a 5:30 a.m. wake up call this morning. And we were dressed and in a taxi by 6 a.m.

We arrived at the funeral home by 6:30 a.m. At 7 a.m. the father from moms church arrived to perform the ceremony which lasted about 30 minutes. Mom was a Christian so it was a Christian ceremony. I didn’t understand what was being said because it was in Chinese of course. But I understood what was going on. I also had Alexander to watch. He was oblivious to what was going on of course.

At 7:30 a.m. moms red oak casket was loaded into a black Hearst. My wife and her sister needed to walk in front of the Hearst holding moms photo and some christian symbols with flowers. Dad and the rest of the family walked behind, following the Hearst to the crematorium. The walk was about 10 minutes and then there was another 10 minute prayer service before they took the casket away to a side door for cremation.

We then walked back to the funeral Home. At 7:50 a.m. my mother skyped me just as I sat down in the waiting area. I had just finished giving Alex his morning bottle of milk. Perfect timing. So I quickly told her the details of this morning and we will skype again this afternoon when we arrive at the Memorial Gardens where Mom will be put to rest.

934am. The smell of hard chalk. Thats the best I can describe the smell as I arrived at the crematorium centres ‘issue’ area. A white tiled floor and walled corner room. Glass doors and windows. Rain outside. This area was where they deliver the ashes of people. There is a white counter and they present the bright white faked bones of the deceased on a large silver tray.

My wife and her sister used chop sticks to place those first remains in a white marble urn. Then the funeral director took over. There was a lot of ‘ashes’ and two parts of a cranium. Not really ash. More like fragments of white chalk and very fragile.

At 945am we put moms urn in a car and the family followed in a small motorcade to mom’s sister’s Church. There was a one-hour service which displayed the power point presentation of photographs. In the background a white grand piano played and a violin which was played by a cousin began during the photo presentation. I believe it was the last song they played on the Titanic as it sank “Nearer my god to thee”.

Then at 12 noon we set off to the garden cemetery. This was a surprising place to see. Nestled in mountains in southern Kaohsiung it was almost military styled in neatness and cleanliness. And peaceful. A good resting place for mom.

While I was there my mum Skyped again. Just in time, again. Mothers seem to know the right time. So we talked until we got back into the cars and headed off for lunch.

At 2pm we arrived back in central Kaohsiung at our final venue. Funcity Garden Restaurant. Time to eat, share memories and celebrate the life we have.

In the end only one thing matters, family.

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