My grandfather died, so I stopped updating the blog to take a break emotionally. Here is an adaptation to a thread I posted on Twitter.
My 103-year-old (Chinese Years) grandfather passed away and it reminded us that advance directives are important.
As far as my dad and aunt knew, he wanted a simple and basic Chinese funeral with as few rituals as possible. However, their half brother and their elder sister (who has lost a mother and all her children thus very full of grief).
They decided to run the funeral and chose not to include my dad and aunt who were younger than her but actually older than their half-brother. As a result, they got the “cheapest” funeral service that did not offer any food except for disgusting RO water and repacked peanuts. They DID NOT plan any actual food or drinks for family friends and guests.
Eventually it resulted in my nephew binging on peanuts and falling sick in the process. My aunt and dad had to buy actual food and drinks on our own so that our guests would not get dehydrated and gastritis.
Then there was the freeloaders from several Chinese associations who hang banners around the canopies. They proceeded to pester my family to pay them the equivalent of $1000-$2000 for shitty banners. These people were rude gangsters who acted like loan sharks.
If my family had actually hired a reputable funeral home, food, drink and hosting would have been handled. Instead we see busloads of strangers who were only there for free food, food that were meant for actual friends of my late grandfather and actual family friends. That funeral home was actually preferred by my grandfather when his first and second wives passed before him.
This cheap funeral staff were rude, chainsmoking and walking into our house with their shoes on while being defiant when told off. I am sad and embarrassed for my grandfather. If he organised his own funeral, this would have not been a disorganised disaster.
If my grieving elder aunt had not let her half-brother and sister-in-law take advantage of her and played cliques, my other aunt and father would have planned the event according to my grandfather’s wishes within budget.
This feels more like Game of Thrones than a family reunion. My aunt claimed that they wanted to pack doggy bags of food BECAUSE SHE DID NOT WANT TO WASH PLATES. When my younger aunt provided actual food, my siblings and mum did the dishes.
Elder aunt did not even think to ask for help from us! We’re family! A family of 10 or so children of my grandfather with many more now adult children! Why couldn’t she have ASSIGNED TASKS? Say “this family gets catering, this family does the dishes, etc”.
We were struck by grief, that is true. But this was a time for our family gets to gather and catch up. Instead it became a battle for meaningless power and being cheapskate.
PLEASE anyone reading this, learn from my family’s mistakes. Plan for your death and don’t let superstition make it a scary taboo topic.