Every year around Christmas time my mom’s side of the family all come together to visit my grandfather, great-grandmother, grand aunt, and grand uncle’s grave sites at Rose Hills Memorial Park. There’s a Chinese holiday that’s behind the visit but I can’t translate it into English where it makes sense (I apologize). Every visit we’ve made, I always see funeral processions taking place. I’ve always thought to myself, wow that must really be brutal to have a loved one pass away during this time of the year. This year, I was that person. My uncle’s mother passed away a few days after Thanksgiving from a stroke. I wasn’t super close with her but every time I saw her she was always happy and excited to engage me in conversation. While attending her services today, I noticed two military funerals taking place. It really tore me up inside.
I think today was a test of character for me. During the service for my uncle’s mother, my aunt completely lost it and broke down crying. In my culture, the son always takes care of the mother when the father isn’t present. My uncle got onto the podium to thank everyone for coming to the service and my cousins just sat there while my aunt lost it. I felt really bad because my aunt was crying really hard and leaned on her oldest son for comfort. Every single person in that chapel heard her. I asked my sister what we should do because someone should go up to her row and comfort her. My sister told me, “okay, go. I’ll watch your purse.” So I went. At first I was hesitant but then I told myself I should live up to the standards that I hold others to. My aunt and I have had a lot of rough patches and while growing up we never got along/saw eye to eye. When she realized it was my arm around her and my hand reaching out, she thanked me. It’s safe to say that family always comes first.
This is the third funeral I’ve ever been to and I don’t know what it’s like for other cultures but in my culture we always have a “memorial meal” after the burial. Usually it’s at some sort of Chinese restaurant. Today we went to NBC Seafood Restaurant in Monterey Park, CA. It’s been a while since all of us have gotten together to eat out but I wish it was under different circumstances. I did take some pictures of the food we ate and the awesome egg tart my mom got me after we left the restaurant.
In this picture there’s a bowl of rice, a bowl of crab/seafood soup (it’s expensive for we usually only have it for special occasions), a glass of Pepsi, and a plate of honey walnut shrimp and stir fry veggies.
This plate has sweet and sour ribs, stir fry fish fillets with bok choy, and salted soy chicken with shrimp chips (usually they have the chips with Peking Duck).
A better picture of my third round of food. The plate was super small or else I would only have one round.
The delicious egg tart from Jim’s Bakery. It’s so so good! Eggy, sweet, and creamy on the inside and flaky on the outside. That’s exactly what an egg tart should taste like.
While today was bittersweet, I hope that I will remember to put family first above all else. I think that was the biggest lesson for me today. Keep your loved ones close and let them know that you love them.