Grieving For The Dear Departed

 

Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska — The Aurora Bo...
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By P Chong                                                         Sat. 23 Oct. 2010

Grieving is universal. It doesn’t differentiate between colour, race or creed. There’re no boundaries between classes of economic status. Grieving is essential for the soul, mind & body. However, how does one grieve?

Personally, there’s no set form for grief. People grieve for relief, solace, or sadness & there’s no right or wrong way in expressing it. According to sociologists at various universities opinion can differ from one to the other.

There should however be stages of grief. First comes the acceptance to be expected out of this natural phenomenon. This is followed by the healing process and then there has to be the moving-on process. You can’t keep on grieving for the rest of your natural life. For the living, life goes on and so must you.

When a person passed on, it’s not not just a digital statistic, he or she is someone’s grandparent, father or mother, husband or wife, uncle or aunty and so on. The deceased is many persons in one . . . dear to someone. For the widow or widower, it could mean moving on in finding new partner. To love again? Why not?

What about attendance at funeral? Your presence of course is a question of honour & due respect for the departed. But some people can’t bear being at funeral. So long some representation of kind or person is being arranged, it’s the heart within that really counts. There are in fact hypocrites who wail and cry aloud at funeral, but to what end and purpose?

Modern technology has replaced or substitute for cases who simply cannot make it for the funeral because of distances & circumstances. Out of town or country mourners keep vigil & pay respect via electronic media where video clips or slide shows are available for viewing. This is the burgeoning trend that allowed people to share memories & eulogies.

Video or slide show tributes chronicling the deceased’s past are shown during visitations and memorial services are being held at funeral parlours. The trend is towards celebrating the life of the dear departed.

As a matter of fact, we cry from the cradle to the grave. The day we were born, we uttered our first cry . . . then we were crying for this & that . . . and sooner or later, we cry for others or others cry for us! What a life of crying! It’s crying to no end. We celebrate our birth. We celebrate our marriage. Why not we celebrate or let others celebrate our good life?

In the presentation of the eulogy, the speaker may well moderate emotion enough to focus on the joyous & good experiences of the dear departed with a clear mind.

Healing process comes through looking back on the past experiences & reminisces & sharing the joy rather than the sadness among relatives & friends. It is not to say that it’s unnatural to feel pain & the sense of loss.

At funerals & hereafter, in observing devotion & dedication, there are these actions to consider:

To take a look at one’s own life

A time for reflection

A time for resolution

A time to act

That life is a journey not a destination

Try to make it as interesting & loving for self & others!

In recent memory of my brother-in-law Brother Kheng in Taipei, Taiwan.


Have No Fear . . . God Is Near

"The Garden of Eden" by Thomas Cole ...
Image via Wikipedia- The Garden of Eden by Thomas Cole (c. 1828)

By P Chong       Wed. 1 September 2010

From the womb to the tomb there is but one room

And that’s up in heaven or down in Hell

Where you’d forever dwell & yell!

Morbid as it may sound, especially on this beautiful first day of Spring, nothing is further from the truth. Ever since the downfall of mankind through the disobedience of Adam & Eve, man has been cast out of the Garden of Eden into the realm of evil & temptations. However, Father God in His graciousness & everlasting mercy has forgiven us & forgotten that act of human disobedience, but the consequences of that act cannot be avoided. Our physical death, the pain of childbirth, sickness & ailments, unending human problems & sufferings are, to name some, the consequences of sin we have to bear.

There is no escaping. Death is a certainty. Death comes to everybody. It has no respect for class, status or creed. Popular writer-teacher Leo Buscaglia used to say, “Remember, no one will get out of this world alive!”

There is a wonderful legend of the servant of a wealthy merchant. He was in a marketplace of Baghdad securing provisions for his master when he had the most frightful experience of his life. When he rushed into his master’s house a few minutes later, his colour had drained completely from his face.

What’s the matter with you? It looks as though you have seen a ghost!” the master inquired.

Master,” the servant replied, “I have just seen DEATH in the marketplace, and when he saw me, he raised his arm to strike me. Please master, I am certain he means to take me. Loan me your fastest horse so that I can get away.”

But where will you go?” asked the merchant.

I will go to Samarra,” explained the servant. “DEATH will not find me there.”

So the merchant gave his servant the fastest horse in his stables, and the servant rode swiftly off to the city of Samarra where he hoped to hide.

The merchant later went to the market to get his own supplies. While there he too saw DEATH. So he inquired of DEATH, “Why did you raise your hand to strike my servant a while ago?”

Death replied, “Actually I meant him no harm ast that moment. Raising my hand was a gesture of surprise. You see, I didn’t exppect to find him here, for I have an appointment with him tonight at Samarra!”

The servant of Baghdad would discover that no matter how fast the horse not how far the journey, he could not escape his appointment with DEATH.

To allay you fear, here’s an amusing episode which bears out the best explanation of DEATH ever:

A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said, Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.”

Very quietly, the doctor said, “I don’t know.”

You don’t know? You’re a Christian man, and don’t know what’s on the other side?”

The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.

Turning to the patient, the doctor said, Did you notice my dog? He’s never been in this room before. He didn’t know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing . . . I know my Master is there and that is enough.”

Have no trouble, have no fear

For God is near.

Put your faith & trust in Him

And He’ll guide you through thick & thin.

Alexander The Great – His Farewell Words

An example of a map created with GMT, illustra...
Image via Wikipedia- The Empire of Alexander the Great

Google Image – The Johnson Gallery

” Ice melts when heated ”

“Eyes melt when hated”

Alexander, after conquering many kingdoms, was returning home. On the way, he fell ill and it took him to his death bed. With death staring him in his face, Alexander realized how his conquests, his great army, his sharp sword and all his wealth were of no consequence.

He now longed to reach home to see his mother’s face and bid her his last adieu. But, he had to accept the fact that his sinking health would not permit Him to reach his distant homeland. So, the mighty conqueror lay prostrate and pale, helplessly waiting to breathe his last.

He called his generals and said, “I will depart from this world soon, I have three wishes, please carry out them out without fail.”

With tears flowing down their cheeks, the generals agreed to abide by their king’s last wishes.

“My first desire is that”, said Alexander, “My physicians alone must carry my coffin.”

After a pause, he continued, “Secondly, I desire that when my coffin is being carried to the grave, the path leading to the graveyard be strewn with gold, silver and precious stones which I have collected in my treasury”.

The king felt exhausted after saying this. He took a minute’s rest and continued. “My third and last wish is that both my hands be kept dangling out of my coffin”.

The people who had gathered there wondered at the king’s strange wishes. But no one dared bring the question to their lips.. Alexander’s favorite general kissed his hand and pressed them to his heart. “O king, we assure you that your wishes will all be fulfilled. But tell us why do you make such strange wishes?”

At this Alexander took a deep breath and said: “I would like the world to know of the three lessons I have just learnt.

Lessons to learn from last 3 wishes of King Alexander…

I want my physicians to carry my coffin because people should realize that no doctor can really cure any body. They are powerless and cannot save a person from the clutches of death. So let not people take life for granted.

The second wish of strewing gold, silver and other riches on the way to the graveyard is to tell People that not even a fraction of gold will come with me. I spent all my life earning riches but cannot take anything with me. Let people realize that it is a sheer waste of time to chase wealth.

And about my third wish of having my hands dangling out of the coffin, I wish people to know that I came empty handed into this world and empty handed I go out of this world”.

With these words, the king closed his eyes.

As with all mighty kings & conquerors of the past, death ultimately subdued them all.

Will mankind never learn?

Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!

Loneliness – An Abstract Poverty

By P Chong                                                      Monday, 28 December 2009

Loneliness would aptly apply to people without friends or company – a sort of solitude by nature or circumstances. Despite having the ease of modern communication to connect with people & with each other, more & more people are falling into the trap of loneliness. This I would term as “an abstract poverty”.

Fans of Elvis Priestley would know the tune “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” Yes, I am afraid many are & this spell of loneliness or lonesomeness cut across all economic divide, race, creed or sex. Some people just find it hard to reach out for the phone even to talk to somebody. Others may even be lonely in a group . . . harbouring fear & inhibition of reaching out to people . . . unable to trust others . . . incapable of interacting . . . feeling secluded, isolated, unwanted & lonely. This is indeed a serious indictment, a real social issue which ultimately lead on to health problems.

Ever feel dejected in a party, like a fish out of water and just dying to get out of the place in a jiffy? Loneliness breeds a host of problems: social awkwardness or shyness, emotional strain & stress, suicidal tendency, reclusiveness, unfriendliness among others. How can this come about when making friends is just like smiling or merely extending a hand for a warm handshake? Struggle of this nature often accentuates the loneliness.

I believe the nature of the person has much to do with the resultant social behaviour. Some people just can’t accept dejection, as with a friend of ours, who because of love dejection jumped from a high floor of the building where the ex-lover worked. Things can really get out of hand, mind confused, and the life of a perfectly healthy lady was lost because of loneliness & dejection.

In another extreme, I have known of men driven to brutality & murder on ground of dejection. Emotion is a strong force, uncontrollable at times, and for the likes of them many are instituted. As a board member of the visiting board to a mental institution in Malaysia, I have witnessed many sad cases of perfectly healthy young men & women in confinement.

Crisis of loneliness can be attributed to three statistical “Ds” – death, divorce & deferred marriage. The last category is becoming more rampant with feminism drive, individual freedom & independence, especially in highly developed economics, for which even Singapore is famous for. Over there in Singapore, with the trend of social status & security, the fear of being unequally yoked, ladies are entrapping themselves in the loneliness enclave.


A sudden or unexpected demise of a spouse is often hard to bear. The years of companionship are irreplaceable, & from grieving ultimately to loneliness. Others through incompatibility, the selfish need for change, excitement or adventure, by choice find themselves in the divorce courts. Whatever justifications may be unfolded, the underlying cause of all this is self-centredness or gross individualism. Have you ever thought of this that “I” interestingly & symbolically is always spelt with a capital letter . . . meaning Individualistic, Independent & Idiosyncratic. Whatever happened to the traditional value of commitment & attachment?

In this fast changing world, it would be difficult to implement the basic fundamental solution to our social ills & ailments. People would generally chose the easy option of quitting rather than working it out.

The Golden Years of Togetherness

God’s basic commandment is “Love”, but the price tag of it is switched upside down in our modern day living. The first great commandment of God is, as Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” and the second great commandment is: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself”. (Matthew 22: 37-39).