to everyone who came to pay your condolences. My dad’s family doesn’t really like to socialize so they don’t have many “friends”. I guess I now understand how lonely it can be if no one turns up at a memorial service, and how much difference a person’s presence can make.

During the first day, we were really alone, except for the pastor. I felt the lack of support. We were singing the hymn What A Friend We Have In Jesus (耶稣恩友) , and when I looked up, church members just started stepping into my grandpa’s house. People I never really knew, never really talked to. They came.

I started crying. They came to support us. They came. They stood with us in our grief, despite their million-things-to-do-for-Christmas.

I also cried because 耶稣恩友 touched me, especially the last stanza:

劳苦多愁软弱不堪,挂虑重担压肩头,

主是你我避难处所,快到主恩座前求!

你若遭遇友叛亲离,来到主恩座前求,

在主怀中必蒙护佑,与主同在永无忧。

And then I thought of the lives of the different members of my dad’s family…and I cried some more. I cried for their daily struggles, their heartaches…and most of all, I cried for them to receive everlasting life…so that one day we can all meet in heaven. I knew God saw me cry, and he heard it.

I am thankful that there was peace throughout this season of mourning. My 三姑 managed to catch a flight safely back from Sydney on Christmas day to see her dad for the last time; I managed to get to know my 叔叔’s new wife better (the only other time I saw her, we were visiting my grandpa at the hospital); and I can finally remember the names of my little cousins who get so excited everytime people give 白金. =)

It was a meaningful time actually. We learnt the history of our family. I invited Ying Yuen to sleep over for a few days and we talked until I fell asleep at 2am. I talked to my cousin Kah Yong who is now working in Langkawi. We cousins had fun together. I felt I was finally part of their lives, not just another person with the tag “relative”.

Although I feel the heaviness weighing down, I think we are bonded closer as a family.