The Way to Recall Memories
/Eve Chan Pui Guan
It’s been almost 10 years since I became a funeral emcee. Each time, I have stood at the parlour’s dais and conducted the final rites for someone’s departed loved one. On that day, the positions changed; instead, I knelt at the front of the parlour to deliver my elder brother on his final journey. From the day he left us, I had been so preoccupied with the funeral arrangements that I didn’t have much time to deal with what I was feeling inside.
It wasn’t until I heard the sound of the nails being hammered in; until I witnessed the casket as it was slowly taken to the crematorium; until I came home and looked at his empty room; until I looked at his bike that no one will ride again; that was when I realised that my brother was gone.
I used to hear people say that blood is thicker than water, but I had never truly contemplated its significance. At that moment, I truly understood why blood is thicker than water. My brother’s death struck every nerve in my body, and the grief coursed through every vein. I kept repeating to myself, “If this is a test from God, then this test is too heavy; so heavy that I can’t breathe.
I was standing in front of my home one day, staring at my brother’s bike. I suddenly had a vision of my brother riding out on his bike – just like how he always did – and the image was so vivid.
You need the internet to download software for your mobile phone. In a similar fashion, I think there is a way to recall memories. You can recall the times you spend together in your mind through the connective points between you and that person; such as the food he likes, the places we’ve been and the things we’ve done together.
I once came across a quote in a book, “You don’t need to say goodbye to someone who has passed away. You can always maintain a connection with him. If you wish to let go, then let go. If you wish to connect, then connect.
In truth, what has passed is just time, and all the memories he left for us will not diminish with time. In reality, he is still there, living in a different form. When you miss him, begin the way to recall the memories of him.
The fact is he is still with us, just not in body but in spirit; and his spirit will live on in my heart and my memories.
Nirvana Care’s Emcee Department is responsible for conducting funeral ceremonies according to the family’s respective background, customs and rituals, as well as language and culture. We ensure the smooth flow of the funeral process, including the viewing, sealing of the casket, paying of respects and the funeral procession. The funeral emcee is also responsible for interviewing the family to obtain information in order to celebrate the deceased’s life, help write eulogies and memorialize the deceased together with the family.
Eve Chan is a master of ceremonies (or emcee) of Nirvana Care, and the assistant manager of the Emcee Department. She is familiar with funeral culture and customs, and an avid reader and writer. As a professional emcee, she is proficient in Mandarin, English, Cantonese and Hakka.
This is a common question heard in the counseling room.
“I’ve never done anything bad in my life, why did such an unfortunate thing happen to me?”
“He was a good man – always doing good things – why did God take him away so quickly and take away the bad people?”
“Do we have to be bad people to live longer and get better rewards?”
I believe that many caregivers, and not just those in my family, share the same experience and feelings. The truth cannot be spoken freely, lest you will be accused of being unfilial if you are not careful.
As soon as she finished speaking, she handed the microphone to me. I didn’t have time to respond at that time and everyone started to prepare for the casket sealing ceremony.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is coming, are you going home too? How are you spending your Mid-Autumn Festival?
“Grief is like sticky molasses; it may stick to us for the rest of our lives or it may stick to a certain portion of our lives – simply refusing to leave” is another insight I’ve recently had about grief. Just when we start to think that life is getting better, an event, person or object will remind us, “Ah, so you’re still here!”
At present, I have sent off more than 3,000 friends, although I cannot remember their names. However, I occasionally think about it in a frivolous way; when I’m dead, there are more friends in that so-called afterlife than the ones I have known in my lifetime!
she asked “Hey, what is mourning? Can we still go to work after mourning? Will I be judged?”
The things I learned in the counseling room We only wish to protect you well / Registered counselor Tiew Ee Jing (Translated by Colin Kuan)In the counseling room, an adolescent boy sat with a counselor. The boy’s head was bowed in silence. On what questions the...
When is the right time to talk about death / Nai Seow Hong (Translated by Colin Kuan)At what age is it okay to start talking about death? Is it at the age of three, thirty or eighty? This is a question that many people often face. In fact, as long as children know how...
What is a "complete" farewell ceremony? / Eve Chan Pui Guan, NV Care master of funeral ceremoniesThere are many people in this world with their own unique life experiences. However, in the face of “death”, everyone is equal and everyone will eventually arrive at the...