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Celebration of Life


I've been listening to a radio English learning program, and through the previous week's topic I learned a bit about "celebration of life." It is a kind of funeral services, but it surely has a positive meaning of saying goodbye to the deceased. It reminds me of a traditional funeral in Miyazaki which I had over 40 years ago.

Until when I was five years old, my grandparents were in good health and always welcomed my family's annual visit. My parents married young and set up house far away from their hometowns, so unfortunately we couldn't make it to mother's parents' last moment. On the following day of the sad news, we took a night train to attend the funeral. My mother were devastated, and I still crealy remember that she couldn't eat anything on the train. I heard about what a funeral would be like, so I was very surprised at the funeral in my grandparents' house.

My aunts, uncles, cousins, all of them looked happy and had grateful look. Some of them were smiling, relaxing, and chatting away. They saluted the come-and-go neighbours who gave us a word of condolence. My mother explained to me that the bereaved don't have to mourn over death because passing is a new journey to the heaven. They are released from agony or pain to be ready for a new life. My grandparents' funerals were something like a party. It was an actual celebration of life. I ate a lot of delicious dish and even played hide-and-seek with my cousins. I'm sure such a funeral isn't for everyone, but I take it as a great way to remind of good old days with beloved ones.

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