Wednesday, 12 November 2014

White for funeral

This post has been revised from my previous post

"It shouldn't be completely white. You need to pick a suit with some colour prints, to suit your age and marital status." That was all my mom said to me before disappearing back into the kitchen. My confusion must have been evidently visible on my face for her to say that.

I have never felt this dumbfounded or confused as I did standing in my bedroom, staring clueless at my colourful wardrobe. I, the maestro at packing suitcases, getting three kids and a dog, all snuggled and buckled up into my minivan in just minutes, had been staring at my closet for the longest time.

Just minutes earlier, I received a phone call that had evoked a certain emotions. Emotions that I had buried deep inside, because it rendered me incapable of performing my duties dutifully.

I was required to pack a little differently this time because my year long travelling, back and forth to my adopted parents' (through marriage) house to care for my ailing mother in law, was finally reaching its expiration.

It is customary to wear white at funerals but it did not feel right packing a white suit. My rebellious heart had not accepted that my daughter's grandmother, who had been valiantly battling a losing battle for three years was finally giving up and succumbing to cancer.

Although it hurt me to see her laying almost lifeless in her bed, an unexplainable comfort was prevalent each time I saw her chest move. So packing a white suit would mean I accepted defeat, on her behalf. What lesson would that teach my children? That I, a mere mortal am playing God by deciding her time was up. Was it really time for her to go, I wondered?

I was aware of her intentions the day she calmly said "I love you" and "I am ready to go", without fumbling over her words or with any sign of weakness. I knew it was for the best, for her and everyone around her, but how do I explain the necessity to pack a white suit to an eight and nine year old? How do I explain to them that they too, are required to dress in certain way? According to a dress code that was deemed suitable, a long time ago by my ancestors from a different land.

It seemed like only yesterday, I explained about
death to my children and now I was about to show them how to dress at a funeral.
A funeral that was holding an empty casket for a person that was still breathing.
A funeral with all the necessary arrangements made but the death of the person it was meant for.
A funeral that was awaiting for the death messenger to take her soul away and leave behind an empty shell.

Alas, I am still standing clueless while clutching my empty bag.

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Thank you for stopping by at A cuppa for my thoughts


This post was originally submitted to the yeah write #186 nonfiction challenge, but didn't make the voting grid. I have edited and resubmitted it this week.


  1. I can relate to this feeling of indecisive sadness. It's hard to think logically, take action, in the face of grief.

    Nice story.

  2. Death itself is so hard to explain. I can't imagine having to explain the situation of your mother-in-law on top of that and your sadness.

    1. We all know death is inevitable but I still struggle to understand whether it would have made any difference trying to explain a sudden unexpected death or one that is slowly slipping away, right in front of your eyes.