Say hi to Grandma for me II

Sawaddee my friends!

Thank you for your messages. I left in such a big hurry and I couldn’t be more specific with the details. I apologize.

First, the Red Cross Society. Here is the website. Please select “To support the Thai Red Cross activities”. The money will be going to the general fund. You can donate in USD. Once you click through the process, it’ll ask who you are donating on behalf of. Go ahead and say that it is in honor of Mrs. Chongdee Phromyothi.

My mom is at Wat That Thong (at the foot of the Ekamai BTS station), Sala 7. The monks start the chanting at 7 p.m. between now and Sunday. On Sunday, the cremation ceremony will be held at 4 p.m.

**

The flight was smooth and once again, it’s soooo good to fly straight through. Plus, I was very lucky with my tickets. It seemed I paid a very small price for an overbooked Economy seating so I ended up in Premium Economy with even roomier seat and real silverware! The flight attendants also moved me from my window seat after seating another passenger in the window seat.

“We’ll put you over here in the middle seat, so you can have the whole row to yourself.”

It’s good to look young. They thought I was a teenager traveling alone, as I found out! Hahaha! The lady who moved me wasn’t going to serve me wine, and that how we got things straightened out.

“You’re not 18, are you?” You have to be 18 on the international flight to be served alcohol, apparently.

“Would you believe me if I told you I’m 30?”

This 40-ish-looking flight attendant (which probably means she’s older than that) said, “If you’re 30, that makes me 15.” She laughed and poured me wine.

Oh, and yes, I did go shopping. Lily scored a 30-50% discount coupon at Central Department Store. We found 3 black “respectable” (read: not from the bargain Lalaisapp Alley for a change!) items each for less than $100. I am set for the funeral now. I did grab as many black items I could find from home, but I wasn’t sure if they’d be appropriate.

Speaking of which, I lost my mom’s skirt somehow. A few trips ago, she had given me this black chiffony skirt. I wore that to work a few weeks ago and I swore I washed it. I wanted to wear it for the funeral, but we flipped the house looking for the thing and it was nowhere to be found.

I think mom took it back or hid it somewhere so that I would buy new skirts. Not liking my choice of clothing? That sounds like mom to me. Hahah!

**

CIMG3232This is the picture we use for her funeral. This was Mommy at my oldest brother’s wedding. Her hair had just fallen out from chemo so she was working the wig. And worked it she did! Look at her!

Like one of those paintings that follow you around the room, people keep saying that no matter where you sit in the funeral, you can see her beaming at you.

She always smiles at her guests, my mother. Even from beyond, she still is the hostess with the mostest!

Last night was my first night at the temple. You wouldn’t believe the amount of funeral wreaths sent to her! I mean, Thai wreaths are like 3 ft. and up in size! (I’ll take some pictures tonight). We have to juggle the one inside, next to the coffin, with the VIPs who are hosting the evening’s praying and any other important guests who would be coming. For example, last night was hosted by Nike, my brother’s employer and tonight a co-hosting by my dad’s company and my sister-in-law’s company.

But anyway, we ran out of space for the flowers inside the funeral parlor…I guess that what we’ll call it in English…and yes, our “sala” is A/C. Traditionally, a “sala” is essentially a huge gazebo. More wreaths lined the outside. We would have to double up on the outdoor rows as the nights go.

Also overflowing out of the sala were guests. My mom’s friends and our family turn up from everywhere. We had to set extra chairs outside. And we almost ran out of those too.

She was much loved. Still is.

At some point, her friends and my mom’s side of the family were discussing the transportation to get to the scattering of her ashes. They couldn’t agree on who should do it and how they should do it. Aunty Sida turned to my mom’s coffin.

“Noi!” She blurted out my mom’s nickname. Everyone went quiet for a second. She continued to address the coffin.

“Can you make up their minds for them, please? They’re driving me up the wall!”

Everyone laughed.

Aunty Sida is my mom’s bestest friend since high school. They’ve been through everything together. The message on her wreath for my mom said, “I love you. From Sida and Tenn (her son).” She hand-wrote on it, just under I love you, “And I will be your best friend in every life after this.”

Another funny thing happened at the sala. My mom hated cats. And yet this one black temple kitten kept following me all over the sala earlier in the evening. Well, I did pet her first. And also true, I did have a sandwich in my hand, but that wasn’t the point. I even talked to her in English and she understood. Well, I didn’t shoo her out, but pointed her out, pointed and said, “Out!” and closed the glass door behind her. But she managed to come back in behind some guests to see me later but left once the place got crowded.

Oh, Brandon. I wish I could take her home. A skinny short haired Thai mutt of a kitten! :)

Sunday is the cremation. Monday morning, about 40 of family and friends are off to Sattaheep to the Navy yard, get on a ship and scatter mom somewhere in the ocean. (Thank GOD I have extra Bonine for the sea voyage! Y’all know about me and boats.)

And after that, since I’m the only one not working, I’ll be sorting through her belongings and coordinate with the aunties for donation.

My mom was a fashionista. Originally, she had 2 closets. When I left, she took over mine too plus adding 2 removable racks where my desk is. Going through all of that by myself is going to be like hacking my way through the Amazon rain forest with a Swiss army knife.

Anyways. That is pretty much what I’ll be doing for the next two weeks.

Again, thank you guys for stopping by and for your kind words. I will keep you updated.

2 thoughts on “Say hi to Grandma for me II

  1. Celeste

    Hi Oakley, You are absolutely amazing!! I envy you for the strength you have. How ironic is the skirt thing. You did just weart that here to the office, and it was sooo cute on you. Hmmm…Mom is playing a trick on you, your right maybe that’s a way for her to get you to buy more skirts!!! Well, just wanted you to know that your Mom and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Love you and miss you. Enjoy all the time at home. See you soon.

    Love ya,
    Celeste

  2. Olaina

    The closets thing… Mark did it really quickly with us for Toni…. if possible I recommend bringing out all ht eskirts, having a jury of peers (anyone who would fit into the skirts sititng in front of you) to check out the skirts, if they want one, tehy take it (n arguing–sare!) if no one wants it and it’s’ in good shape, donaation.garage sale pile.

    Just another bit of how-we-didi- =oit info.

    I’m so drunk. Talk to ou later. G’night! love , Olaina'[”os. typed with eeyes closed. :) really.

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