Be brave

I am tired of mourning. Why is it so physically draining? Today we completed the last of the traditions and rituals for my grandmother. She wanted us to pay our respects and honor her at the Buddhist temple in Chinatown.

We spent the afternoon with monks, listening as they chanted, easing the passage of the deceased to the afterlife. We quietly observed and bowed, prayed, kneeled and kowtowed. I don’t think I should be tired from bowing, kneeling on the pillows, bowing down to the ground, standing up and doing it again, but I am tired from today. I wondered if there is a correct way to kowtow. I watched a monk as he kneeled down to the ground, put his hands together in prayer then put his hands down to the pillow, forehead to the ground, then opened his hands-palms face up instead of down.

The memories of my grandmother flowed through out the day. I remembered the object she gave me in my childhood to be brave. When I was a child, sometimes I would wake up in the night, afraid, afraid of I don’t know what, but afraid. She told me to not to be afraid of the ghosts, spirits, and noise. She gave me a giant kitchen knife to keep at my bedside and said I could use it when I was afraid. I’m not sure how many years I slept with a large kitchen knife by my bedside.

I remember we would watch action movies a lot together on TV. She loved watching action movies, sometimes too, there would be a scary scene and I would cover my eyes. She would say to me, “why are you scared? You said everything on TV was fake and not real.” Ah, grandma, how I continue to miss you and the lessons you taught about having courage and being brave.

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