Today is the one-year anniversary of my mom’s death.
According to the lunar calendar, it’s the one-year anniversary. Or rather, according to the lunar calendar and time zones, yesterday was the one-year anniversary, since Taiwan is 16 hours ahead.
Officially, she died on December 19, 2019, at around 11:30 am. Officially to me, she died on December 18, 2019, at around 7:30 pm Pacific Time.
During the first year after death, Buddhist tradition calls for an altar to be set up in the home, with a photo of the deceased and offerings regularly made to said deceased. My dad and aunt (my mom’s younger sister) have been handling this. Every once in a while, they lay food at the altar, in front of the photo. It’s intended for my mom, but they end up eating said food.
That’s always been kind of a funny tradition to me, but I guess it’s good that food isn’t being wasted. And I definitely chuckled the one time my dad sent us a photo of his offering, and the offering was three bags of Top Ramen.
Anyway, at the one-year anniversary, the tradition is to find a permanent home for the deceased, so the framed photo of my mom is now mounted on the wall. I believe the regular offerings can stop now. I am grateful to my dad for honoring my mom the way he has been, Top Ramen and all.
I wrote this blog post almost six years ago, shortly after my dad suffered an aneurysm and was in a coma for several weeks. In it, I wrote about Taiwanese fortune tellers, superstitions, and not believing in superstitions:
After the reading, my mom then asked, “Oh, what about me?”
The fortune teller didn’t answer and just looked away.
I guess the fortune teller got this one right. Though it would have been just as sad the other way around. Really, it’s just all-around fucking sad to have to deal with death.
I miss you, mom. But in a way, I’m glad you weren’t around this year. It’s been rough.