Archive for April 24th, 2013

1_jpg 2_jpg

One hot afternoon in 1973, Grandma complained of severe chest pain and had to be rushed to the hospital at once.

Both my sister and I could not sleep that night. We turned and tossed for hours on the bed and silently prayed that she would come home soon for we began to miss her.

“Sister, will Grandma die?” I asked her all of a sudden.

She was stumped by my unexpected question. The same thing was on her mind and it was bothering her too.

“I don’t know, I’m not the doctor. Anyway, why don’t you ask Mom or Dad when they got back from the hospital?” she snapped at me, annoyed that I would ask such a dreadful question.

“If you can’t sleep, let me tell you a short story and then we go to sleep. Don’t forget, tomorrow, we need to go to school,” she tried to bait me.

This is how her story goes…..

“Once upon a time in a little village in India, a mother was mourning the death of her young son who had died after drinking some contaminated water from a well in the village and got very sick.

She wailed loudly, beat her chest and pulled her hair. She cried until her voice became hoarse but still, he did not come back to life.

Just then, the Lord Buddha and a few of his disciples passed by on their way to the woods. The Enlightened One bent down and asked her gently why she cried so bitterly. She told him of her misery.

Go to every household in the village and ask for a bowl full of rye from any family that Death has not visited, he told the grief-stricken mother and she did just that.

A week later, she came to him empty-handed. The poor mother had understood what the Enlightened One had tried to tell her – that nothing is permanent and that no one can escape from death.”

Grandma died that night.

At nine years old then, I do not understand the pain of losing a loved one but this story, somehow, remain with me all these years and it did eventually serve me when I lost both Mom and Dad.

They said time will heal the pain but for me it did not.

The pain I feel today is exactly the same as what I felt six years ago when Dad left on 24th April 2007. The only difference now is that I have finally learned to accept it, thanks to the simple yet profound story that my sister once told me one night forty years ago.

Several months back, I have a strange dream where in it, I saw Dad came to see me and told me it is for the last time for he was going to Alaska soon.

What, Alaska, such a cold cold place! Well, he just smiled and left.

And when I woke up and told my family about it, they were equally puzzled.

As a Buddhist, I firmly believe in reincarnation. Perhaps he was trying to tell me that he will be born in Alaska soon.

I am not sure how to interpret this strange dream but I remember he looked young, healthy and cheerful when he came to bid me goodbye.

Alaska or not, Dad will have a special place in my heart forever.

Read Full Post »