When my father passed away recently, we had a few question marks hanging on our head when it comes to do’s and don’ts in a funeral. Dad’s a Kadazan and mom’s half Chinese. But as much as I remember, the Chinese tradition has much played its role in our life. What more when some of the customs are almost similar between the Kadazan Dusun and Chinese. But thanks to our faith in Christianity, we kind of trailed off from custom especially those that do not make sense at all.
“Apa kaler baju kami patut pakai? Hitam? Putih?”
“Mana saja. Hitam pun buli, putih pun buli,” mom answered.
“Ma, sia mau putung kuku. Balik-balik tersangkut.”
“Jangan dulu bah. Tunggu lepas kubur,” she replied.
So yeah, there are things that we followed (and most of them leaned towards the Chinese what-not) and also stuffs that we didn’t.
These questions came to bug us again during our grandmother’s funeral.
“So, mau kasi sedia tu darah ayam kah bikin sapu di kaki orang yang balik dari kahabangan?” an older cousin of mine asked.
Another cousin interjected, “Tapi dorang mummy si Cynthia tiada buat pun tu masa mamai passed away. Ok ja tu.”
Anyways, I heard my aunt did prepare the chicken blood anyway. I’m not sure though as I didn’t follow them to the cemetery.
“Kita bikin kah tu momisok, yang mau padam-padam lampu?”
“Not sure oh. Perlu kah tu?”
“Kami tiada padam lampu masa bapa punya 7th day. Carry on tu Rosary prayer saja.”
“Apa bah tujuan tu mau kasi padam lampu?”
“Mau tingu dia (the spirit of the deceased) ada datang kah tidak bah tu.”
Later that night, we had some great discussion about this with a few cousins.
Some think that since we have embraced religion, we should not put much belief in all those Pagan’s rituals. Another thought said that we still have to follow some traditions as they have been passed down generations to generations and are believed to have causes and effects if not adhered to. A cousin and I agreed that following and respecting these traditions are important unless they stood strongly against the religion that we believe in.
Then I remembered mom telling me when asked if she’ll switched off the light on the 7th day prayer for my late dad.
“Tidak payah mau tunggu hari ke tujuh bah atau mau padam-padam lampu. Kalau dia mau datang, bila-bila pun dia buli ada bah.”
And that prompted me to recall another moment while driving back home from my late grandmother’s home. While driving, I smelled a nice flowery scent akin to roses inside my car. At that instant, I was reminded of the scent from the Rosary beads my late dad kept in his hospital cabinet. I vividly recall the scent. I didn’t think much about it while driving aside that it smelled nice. And I thought it came from my Rosary beads. Much later, I realized my Rosary beads doesn’t have any scent. Only dad’s. The one that was sent away together with him.
‘Dad must have been with me that day. He’s accompanying me home.’
I smiled and thanked dad for that.
Mom’s right. He can be here anytime, anywhere.
Til next post!