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There are a few Chinese customs I encountered during the recent loss of my son and would like to share.  

. Hang two white lantern outside the door as a sign that there is a death in the family
. when the casket is closed, we need to turn our back and of course I did not. I remember that was the time some funeral staff stole valuable items from the deceased in ancient time.
. if you are older than the deceased and related, you should not attend the funeral for that lower your ranking. (bunch of b.s.)
. in ancient time, if kids committed suicide, the parents would ripped the dead body and yelled “bad boy, bad girl“... I guess this custom allowed the parents to relieve their anger.
. friends are not allowed to visit or step into the deceased home for at least 21 days. Some may even want to wait till 100 days has passed. This also apply to the deceased family. I am not allowed to visit Chinese friends in their homes. I think they consider bad luck. Therefore, I had only a few Chinese went to the viewing and the mass. (Thank goodness I am in American and I have tons of American friends. I can’t imagine if I am alone in this time!) Also, I guess the Chinese think this could be a time for the family to bond more by grieving with each other.
. no attend of any happy events during this 21 or 100 days
. I have a hard time in ground burial here for the headstone is small and we literally walk over the dead body. If it is ground burial in my country, there will be a concrete slab above and no one will walk on it just to show respect. So I have picked a niche above ground instead.
.I remembered when my the other grandmother died long long time ago, whenever someone came up to bow, I was asked to cry.  They told me the harder I cried, the sooner they could be reborn.  (This is where I am glad to be Catholic, for I celebrated Andy’s life with the knowing he will be risen again.  It is a mass of resurrection.  The music we chose and sang were bouncy and full of happy tunes.  I told the choir - no Amazing Grace, no Eagles Wings, no tears jerky songs.)

Oh well, that all I know and experienced so far.  Again, I am glad to be a Chinese American.  Take the best, leave the rest.



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