I first wanted to thank everyone that posted a message for me. You may not believe me when I say this, but your comments meant a lot to me and they went a long way towards helping me get through some things over the last few days.
Second, as I mentioned in a previous post, the wake took place on Friday and the funeral / cremation ceremonies took place on Saturday. I actually couldn't catch the wake on Friday, but I was there for the funeral / cremation ceremonies.
(If you're interested in reading more, click through. Otherwise, feel free to skip this post.)
Before getting a chance to see my grandmother's body on Friday (for just a few moments before going to a hotel), her death seemed so far away, as if it never happened. But that all came crashing down when I saw her lifeless body lying in a casket. The only saving grace was how peaceful she looked, as if she were still asleep.
I spent most of the night talking to relatives and a close family friend at the hotel we were all staying at (my parents stayed with my grandmother's body, as is the custom). We reminisced about my grandmother and healed each other with our stories.
The funeral ceremony started at 11am on Saturday. It was held at my grandparent's summer home in Karuizawa.
At around 12:30 or so, after prayers, everyone in attendance grabbed some flowers and placed them in the casket. I can still vividly remember my mother sobbing through her tears to tell everyone that my grandmother's favorite color was purple and that the purple flowers should go near her head.
And from this point moving forward, things got a bit tough...
The company handling the cremation services apparently had a full schedule, so they kept rushing us by telling us how little there was. I understand that they're busy and realize that other families also rely on their services, but death isn't something you can really rush.
In any case, when the cremation was complete, everyone attending the cremation ceremony took turns placing my grandmother's bones into a porcelain container. When everyone had a turn, the cremation handler took over and placed the rest of my grandmother's bones and her ashes into the container.
My grandmother went from a lifeless body to bones and ashes in a porcelain container in under 100 minutes.
We grabbed some lunch at a restaurant my grandparents used to take us to during the summer. My grandmother apparently enjoyed the unaju (eel dish) so everyone had a round of that, except for me (not much of an eel eater).
And then we all parted ways.
Sorry this got long. I didn't intend to write all this. I guess this is just another way for me to deal with my grandmother's death. For those of you that actually read all of this, thank you.
As for my posting schedule moving forward... For the time being, things should be returning back to normal over the next couple of days. I was thinking about taking a couple of days off from updates, but I think keeping myself busy with things to do will help get me through this better than just sitting around and doing nothing.
Again, thanks to everyone that posted a message. I really do appreciate the thoughts and your concerns.