We all leave sometime or another...
Thursday, November 04, 2004 | Author: Dav
Grandmother passed away Monday morning, 4 am. It was a sad day for everyone, even more so for my mother’s family, as they loved her well.

I’ve spent 3 days away from work attending her funeral, and I think maybe detailing what went on for those 3 days might help others get a rough understanding of what it takes to actually go through with a Punjabi funeral (mind you, these are just a collection of my thoughts and items that I remember, so they may be wrong, not in the correct order, or just plain weird. Nothing new I guess for the rest of you out there  )

Ok lets see, where to start. Well she passed on early Monday morning around 2am, and the family decided to hold her body in the hospital mortuary, as they had informed my two uncles who resided in the UK to fly back in time for the actual funeral. The funeral was held on Wednesday, so I’ll just gloss over what went on from Monday to Tuesday.

On Wednesday itself, they brought her body home to my grandparent’s house, and she was bathed and cleaned, along with some morning prayers for her. She was dressed in her finest Punjabi suit, and along that my brother found out that she had prepared some clothing and jewelry for his wedding, which was planned for next year. That was a blow to him, because right up to that things were going ok.

After the actual washing, she was placed on a traditional bed called the menja (a bed made of a wood frame, laced with rope made of the jut plant as the mattress support, with a thick blanket then placed on top of the rope-lattice work as a mattress.

Around about then the flowers and wreaths we ordered arrived, one for each daughter/son. There were about… er… 13 or so (yes, my mother’s family was a large one)

We placed the flowers and wreaths around her and the bed, and made sure things were ok. The main reason this was actually done was for the actual wake, where visitors and other close family members could pay their last respects (pretty much like most funerals I guess).

*cue the custom crying*

Edit: I am not against it just that it drains so much from people, and I don’t like seeing that go on and on.

About now people started drifting in to pay their respects, as grandmother was well known in her hometown for her generous heart. This space of time I was busy cutting, cleaning, and ferrying stuff around, so I’ll gloss over that as well.

About 11am, an uncle informed me that they needed some assistance in the charnel house (the area didn’t have an electrical crematorium) and we hauled arse over. Once there, we met up with the person in charge, and he informed us on what he needed us to do. He had a pile of rubber wood trees, chopped into large quarter blocks of firewood, and he had setup the basic funeral pyre, neatly into a ‘bed’ lined with old car tyre inner-tubes (ok, look, I’m not going to get into a discussion on environmentalism here ok?) We helped his stack up the pyre, and when we were done, we thanked him well and made our way back to the house.

Cue more time consuming chores here.

Around 2pm, the hearse arrived and we helped bearer grandmother into the hearse, heaping up the wreaths and flowers on top of the hearse.

We arrived at the charnel house, and the priest recited prayers as grandmother was placed on the funeral pyre.

I think I’ll end this here, as you can figure out what happened next.

I pass on my sincerest and deepest sense of condolences to my grandfather, and my mother’s family on their loss.

Rest in peace grandmother.

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