Just something off topic post: I have not been online much the last two weeks. Unfortunately my grandma had a heart attack and died by the end of last week. I am glad that she did not feel any pain and fell asleep peacefully.

Already decades ago, my grandma made clear how she wanted her body to be handled after death. She wanted a small service with only her close family and friends, be cremated and buried next to her husband. Of course, I will make everything according to her wishes. While my mom took care of most of the organization, I asked Mr. Panda if he knew how his parents wanted their funerals to be handled. He did not, as they never talked about it. Maybe it might be bad luck to talk about it, but I really wanted to know if they had special wishes.

Of course that is a legitimate, but sad, question. Funeral traditions in Austria and China are a little different, as funeral customs are Roman Catholic oriented, while Chinese mom is a believing Buddhist (I do not know about Chinese dad for sure though) and might not know anything about Austrian traditions as she never attended a funeral here.

And, just in case, I wanted to know how Mr. Panda’s parents thought about the whole process. Whether of a serious disease or an accident, it can happen so fast and sudden any time. I wanted to know how they thought about it, just in case. All the more because they only have us here in Austria and someone of us here will have to handle everything. Only we know about the possibilities and German (somehow most Austrian businesses are not capable of providing important information in English).

Long story short, I finally gathered my courage asked Chinese mom how she wanted to be handled after she died, whether she wanted her body burried or cremated, in Hong Kong or in Austria. Gladly, she was open to the topic, and her answer was less complicated than I thought: ‘What’s modern when I die.’ While Chinese dad went back to Honk Kong, she wants to stay here in Austria with her children, her new Austrian daughter and grandchildren, and therefore we also want to be able to help her as much as we can. And as he tries to help her family as much as possible, it is only fair to know about her wishes as well.

That said, I hope that my Austrian and Chinese family will be healthy and happy for a long time from now on.

 

A sad, but legitimate question

8 thoughts on “A sad, but legitimate question

  • October 27, 2015 at 17:40
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    My condolences, Betty, on your grandmother. Even when it’s expected, death is tough.

    Since my mother died when I was a teenager, I always expect the worst. Andy, on the other hand, refuses to plan for anything. I say, “What do you want me to do when you die? Big party with your favorite beer? Cremation?”

    All he ever says is, “What do I care? I’m dead! Do what you want.”

    Meanwhile, I’m all, “I want to be made into a coral reef. Wait. I take that back, I can be a tree in New Hampshire now…”

    Reply
    • October 27, 2015 at 20:16
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      Thank you. I always expect the worst, so it can only get better. But sometimes it is not easy. 🙁

      Mr. Panda is also not open to the topic. When he told me he didn’t care, I told him I would let cremate him, and make a diamond ring out of his ashes. But he is not too happy with that option I think haha 😀
      I told him that if I die first, he has to make a diamond ring out of my ashes. When he then finds a new woman after some time and proposes to her, he can give her the ring made out of my ashes for the engagement. Then she will be found dead the next day, with the ring burned into her flesh. He also did not like that option lol.
      Joke aside… here near Vienna you can let your ashes be buried in the forest. I like that option best.

      Reply
  • October 27, 2015 at 18:56
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    Betty, I am sorry to hear of your sad news.

    You were brave to approach your MIL regarding the subject. Death is probably not an issue that is wildly discussed in Chinese family. You have taken stock of the situation.

    Reply
    • October 27, 2015 at 20:12
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      Thank you.
      I thought I have to take the opportunity and talk it out. Some people don’t care, but some really do. I just don’t want to make wrong decisions. 🙂

      Reply
    • October 30, 2015 at 8:03
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      I think it shows that your Chinese MIL has accepted you as her daughter and more importantly, you are now part of their family. Clap, clap.

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      • October 30, 2015 at 12:36
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        I was probably already accepted when I was allowed to move in with them for more than five years. 🙂
        But what I am sure of now too: she accepted my straightforwardness and can deal with it now.

        Reply
  • October 29, 2015 at 1:46
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    I’m sorry to hear your loss.

    You were really brave to ask your Chinese parents on such as taboo topic. But I guess sometimes it takes a different person (i.e in this context a non-Chinese person) to ask about it.

    Reply
    • October 30, 2015 at 12:37
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      Thank you.
      And yes, so true. I am not too sure if her sons would have gotten an answer from her. I am just more straightforward than them, maybe that helps. 😀

      Reply

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