It is customary for Chinese families to light red candles for the loved ones who passed away. It signifies that we are happy for their state in heaven. It is also customary to burn incense and “pray” to ancestors like what Mulan did.
While we still keep this tradition, I believe it is for the purpose of respecting the elderly in our community. People who grew up with their parents who are first generational Filipino-Chinese tend to be more sensitive when we dismiss their rituals.
For me All Saints’ day means visiting my grandparents’ tomb both on my mom and dad side. We also visit my great grandparents’ tomb on my dad side sometimes.
My uncle is really intentional when we go to the cemetery. He shares stories about my grandmother. He would often tell that she likes to paint and collect jewelry. He shares her beliefs and her experiences.
My uncle also likes to discuss the meaning of their names and other characters that are written in the stone.
When I took this picture my grandfather was already ill. It was his one year death anniversary at the start of this month.
This is a picture of my Angkong (dad’s dad). I like this picture a lot because of his stature and the waves! I never really got close to him because he was often out of the house playing mahjong.
When he was already bed ridden, my uncle asked me to let our Pastor visit him. It was really a hard time for us because we rescheduled his visit three times.
Pastor Collen shared about Jesus and my cousin, sister and I listened behind. Angkong could barely speak but I think He felt relieved. He also listened carefully. Afterwards, Pastor asked us to sing for Angkong. We sang Amazing Grace.
It was also the last time that I saw Angkong alive. Praise God for that one last chance to visit him and the opportunity to sing for him.
We also remember by looking back at their photographs. My grandparents’ house are filled with pictures!
My Guakong and Guama (grandparents on mom’s side) taken on my mom’s wedding day
I hope that as we remember our loved ones who passed away, we also remember to:
- Live our lives to the full. Live your life for Christ. Serve with your heart and hands.
- Thank God for the family and friends that you have (and show that you care)!
- Give your time, talent and treasures to the people around you (And not to spend most for our time on leisure).
I hope that when our time is up we will not regret anything. Remember that our lives are short. We need to make them count for eternity.