I give you this one thought to keep
I am with you still – I do not sleep
I am – a thousand winds that blow
I am- the diamond glints on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain
When you awaken in the morning’s touch
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft star that shines at night
Do not think of me as gone
I am with you still – in each new dawn.
I came across the above poem engraved in a New Glasgow graveyard stone in the Province of New Brunswick during a trip a few years back.
In the last few days, I tried to think of something to write about China, my ancestral homeland, something upbeat and progressive, something people in North America can and will feel the resonance and identified with, somehow, I came to a writer’s block. My mind is a blank.
Then I remember my pal in China told me that as much as Chinese people revere their ancestors, and they have two days a year that they will go to the tomb stones of their families long gone to pay respect.
Tombstones and graveyard have gradually become a thing of the past in cities, particularly, because land has become precious, cremations are the thing to do now when our dear beloved one parted with this world.
I understand and appreciate the need to remember our parents, our grandparents, our families long gone. But let’s face it, the dead are dead, they couldn’t care less. It is how we choose to remember them. We walk a mile in the shadows of our parents – always.
I know people who keep an urn in their house, some people would fulfill their departed last wish, have their ashes spread in the ocean, in the mountain, in a place where the departed treasured the most when they were alive.
With our advance technology, survived family member can even have the deceased compressed into a “diamond like” substance, and shoot it off into the universe – never to return to this earth!
Some will have the body quick freeze into a very brittle substance, and return it into fertilized, thus fulfill the prophecy of “what came from the earth, return to the earth”
Apparently this last method has gained approval from the nod of environmentalists – it does not pollute, cremations use carbon fuels. So you have it.
In my short three months in China, I have come across a few grave side stones here and there near the mountains. Obvious in where land value is not so expensive like the country side, the traditional way of paying respect to the long departed is still being observed, and that’s how folks there like to remember their beloved ones.
In Canada, in the old days, there are always graveyards next to some old churches – I saw that all the way across this land. Religion deals with life and death – still does. These days churches and religions gradually lose the dominance over people’s lives. It is neither good nor bad, it just is.