Um. How Cute?

, , , , , | Related | December 13, 2020

I am five years old. My little sister is two. My paternal grandfather has just died of a heart attack and we are attending his funeral. I spend the majority of the funeral in another room with my maternal grandmother, overwhelmed. My sister, on the other hand, is being held by my father, who is standing by the coffin.

As people file past to pay their respects, she delivers this gem. She keeps pointing at the coffin, addressing each person who passes.

Sister: “That’s my grandpa. He’s dead!”

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You Know What They Say About Birds Of A Feather

, , , , , , | Related | April 22, 2020

My grandmother passed away, we had her funeral, and we went to entomb her with my grandfather. I hate social gatherings in general, so I tend to avoid talking to people unless they’re in my immediate family. However, this one nice elderly lady comes up and talks to me, telling me how much I look like my grandma when she was young. We have a lovely chat and when we leave, my mom says:

Mom: “It was so nice of you to talk to Crazy Aunt [Aunt].”

Me: “Huh? Why is she called that?”

I figured she must have had a wild youth or something.

Mom: “Because she’s crazy. Literally. She lives in an insane asylum and got a day pass for the funeral.”

It just figures that the one person I would get along with is certifiably insane.

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I Yam Dead

, , , , , , | Related | March 2, 2020

(My dear grandfather has died quietly in his sleep of old age. We are hosting a wake for a whole week in my grandparents’ home, hosted by my grandmother. Local custom states that we have an open casket in the living room, which was a bit unnerving at first, but we get used to it. Despite protests from family members, my grandmother insists on being an impeccable host, cooking and serving drinks and snacks to my many, MANY aunts, uncles, cousins, and over a dozen great-grandchildren. I have just been served a homemade local dessert — Ube Roll — as I am chatting with my cousins.)

Me: *takes a bite* “Hmm. I think something is off with this roll.”

Cousin #1: “Yeah, it’s hard as a rock!”

Cousin #2: “I think she might have left it out too long and it’s gone stale.”

Cousin #3: “And it’s really heavy! Did she actually make it with rocks?”

Me: “I can’t eat this.”

(The dessert really is bad; it is basically a paperweight.)

Cousin #1: “Me, neither.”

(We all look around at the many relatives struggling with their “rock cakes.” A few have discretely tried to leave the room with their dessert to “eat it outside,” but Grandmother is keeping a vigil on everyone. Disposal is going to be tricky.)

Cousin #1: “Poor [Grandmother]. She’s been through enough without spending the next few weeks finding half-eaten stale ube roll wedged behind cupboards and hidden in drawers all around the house.”

Cousin #2: “Wait a minute. [Grandmother] served all the great-grandkids first, and they all had empty plates when they ran outside to play. They couldn’t have eaten them, could they? They must have stashed them.”

Me: “But where? I can’t see where.”

(We look around for a while to see if we can find any cleverly-hidden half-eaten cakes but to no avail.)

Cousin #1: “Where could the little idiots have put them? There’s no way they ate them!”

Cousin #3: “Unless…”

(All of us look over towards the open coffin.)

Me: “Oh, no…”

(We slowly approach Grandfather with trepidation. Being the closest, I am silently volunteered to “pay my respects” one more time. I bend down and check the lower half of the coffin, which is closed. I turn back towards my cousins.)

Me: “Well, let’s just say that if Grandfather is accidentally buried alive, he won’t go hungry for a while…”

Cousin #1: “You mean those little b*****ds stuffed their cakes into poor Grandfather’s coffin?!”

Cousin #2: “No wonder all the kids wanted to pay their respects to Grandfather for so long! I was surprised that kids that young would be so thoughtful!”

(Luckily, we were able to remove the evidence without Grandmother noticing. One of us took her upstairs to “reminisce” while the rest of us collected the alarmingly heavy cakes from all the relatives and threw them out without her noticing. Wouldn’t have wanted to see what would have happened had the stash been discovered later on by poor Grandmother!)

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Finding The Sugary Silver Lining

, , , , , , | Related | November 19, 2019

I was attending a funeral. The elderly mother of a friend had died, and close family members were reading personal messages. A granddaughter, about fifth or sixth grade, declared that it wasn’t so problematic that Grandmother had dementia:

It meant she sometimes forgot whether she had dealt sweets or not and they walked away with two pieces of candy.

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There’s Kissing Cousins And Then There’s Kicking Cousins

, , , , , | Related | June 24, 2019

I lost my grandpa early this May, and the grief hits harder some days than others. Come the memorial about two weeks later, his family and friends are around, half of us crying, the other half sharing amazing stories — half of which I’d never heard, and sorely wish I had — of the generosity my grandpa showed almost everyone in the family.

One of my cousins is there. I went to Taekwondo class with her for several years and we got our black belts together about six years ago. She’s fifteen now, and I’m twenty-four; age difference does make a bit of a difference here.

After being at the memorial for maybe half an hour, she loudly starts complaining about how she’s done and she wants to go home, looking at her mom — another of my cousins and a super sweet lady.

After about the fifth or sixth time she does this, when she does it directly in front of me, I turn to her, sick of it, and trying to keep it together. I say, “I’m sorry that my grandpa dying has ruined your day.”

She just stares at me like I’ve grown a second head, and I storm off.

Up until she did that in front of me, I was doing my absolute best to try to understand where she was coming from; she didn’t know my grandpa all that well, and she’s a teenager. But how entitled do you have to be to say things like that in front of my face like that? It’s especially frustrating because her grandpa is my grandpa’s brother-in-law.

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