All Souls’ Day Reflection 2006

File photo dated July 8, 2006.

Our destination was further up the road from the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus. We had to cross a wooden bridge built over a river fed by streams from the hills surrounding Balik Pulau. Bamboo groves lined the river banks. The only audible sounds were that of the car’s engine, screeching of crickets and gurgling of the river. A constant cool wind blew in through the open window. The silence was eerie yet refreshing.

I knew where we were going. Shortly after the bridge, Dad would turn the car into a narrow earth road up a gentle slope. Like every year for as long as I could remember, he would drive Mum to light candles and lay flowers at the cemetery. Therein lie her father, her grandparents and those from extended families – many ancestors I have never met before or was too young to remember then. In my mind, they were all in black and white, just like the portraits embedded in their tombstones.

For a short period once a year, the drabness of the cemetery bloomed with vibrant colours from orchids, chrysanthemums, anthuriums, gladioluses and carnations. Little white candles that were lighted in the memory of the dearly departed flickered in the gentle breeze. It was practice that I unwittingly observed by virtue of having to tag along on those annual pilgrimages until I became paralysed. Mum continued with the tradition after that.

For the past two years I have lighted candles before the niche where Mum’s ashes were interred on All Souls’ Day and her death anniversary. Those were solemn moments. Since I am not in Penang this year, I am giving it a miss. Nevertheless, I have spent some quiet moments in reflection – thinking about life, death and where my part is in this big scheme of things – praying that I be given the opportunity to touch lives like how Mum did to countless people with her magnanimity.

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

2 thoughts on “All Souls’ Day Reflection 2006”

  1. thanks for dropping by my blog. i enjoy reading what you write here. i wish i could write so beautifully. take care 🙂

  2. Haven’t been back for all souls for a long time.Its been 20 years since my dad left this mortal world but it feels just like yesterday.I guess we don’t appreciate the people we love until they leave us.I am always reminded that life is finite.We can look at it as being one big eternal chore of waking up ,suffering and going to bed or treat it as an adventure where each precious waking day brings with it challenges and rewards.As I get on with age and start looking at the obituaries (!),I realize how precious each day is and that no one has the power of god that he can change my life.I will live my life the way I,me,myself want.I guess you do that too Pete.Cheers to living!

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