She was a matriarch that held 5 generations of her extended family together under her leadership, command and guidance, a small petite lady, she can be pretty fierce at times, however, we all knew that she loved and cared very deeply for her entire extended family, all the way to her great great grandchild.
Everyone of us in the extended family felt a huge loss when she left us on 20th November 2016 (农历十月二十一). It was the start of a mourning period (I also wrote a personal heartfelt article for my paternal grandmother on her passing in Jan 2017) with key ritual dates on the 7th, 14th, 49th, 100th, 清明节2017, 1st year anniversary in 2017, 清明节2018 and followed by the 2nd year anniversary (in year 2018) of her passing with a grand memorial service, rites and rituals.
Entering into November 2018, the period of her 2nd anniversary, the extended family began preparing for the upcoming memorial service and rituals known as <做功德> over 3 days of Taoist rites performed along with lots of food offerings. As I am participating in the rites and rituals over 3 days, I didn’t manage to take many photographs. All these big ritual services were not just for my grandmother’s 2nd year anniversary memorial service, it was done together with and, also for my other ancestors who were no longer around.
While I really wish to go more in-depth into the rituals, I would not be able to do so in my article here. Moreover, this is a memorial and remembrance time dedicated to my paternal grandmother.
26th to 27th November 2018
This special memorial and remembrance service <做功德> started on 26th November evening. Since this was my first time attending and also participating in this service, I was basically “lost”, I just followed instructions.
There were some key takeaways personally for me, <做功德> is very different from a funeral. I will not forget the words, wisdom and sharing by the chief priest, on the topics of filial piety, family unity, remembering her legacy and sacrifices. This is not just a memorial and remembrance service, it was also a celebration of her life and legacy.
28th November 2018 (农历十月二十一)
The final day of the <做功德> rites and rituals, this was also her death anniversary. A number of different rites and rituals were conducted, followed by a big buffet dinner attended by the extended family, relatives, friends and neighbours from the village.
The grand finale was the burning of the tall paper house, surrounded with heaps of joss paper. Once this final rite was conducted, this also marked the end of her memorial service, as well as the mourning period for the extended family.
Our matriarch, our grandmother, will always be in our hearts, mind and soul, even though she is no longer around. She will always look after us from the Heavens above, protecting and blessing us, just like she always do when she was still around on Earth.