Inside but outside

It’s strange to feel like a total stranger with your own family.

I have been back 3 days now.  Friends of mom’s, dad’s and brothers have been pouring in and out of the place.  Everyone is buzzing about, working on the funeral details or talking to guests.

And here I am, the usual Hostess of Everything, the Director of Fun, sitting awkwardly all by her lonesome just to get out of the way.

Obviously, being the one far away when everything happened didn’t put me in the decision process.  And not being resourceful in Bangkok also put me out in the helping out department.

A friend of dad’s is going to MC the cremation ceremony tomorrow and had asked us to provide him with mom’s bio.  Dad asked me to write it.  And I said, I could do a eulogy/bio sort of thing for mom with input from the aunties but it’ll be in English.  Someone will have to translate and type it up in Thai.

So we turned to Aunty Sida, a wordsmith and Mommy’s best friend.

In any usual circumstances, I would do the most useful thing I can by taking pictures.  I did bring the D40 but then traditions got in the way.  One, it wasn’t all that appropriate for the daughter of the deceased to be wandering around taking pictures.  And secondly, for the pictures I’d really want to see, not just the generic blah pictures, I’d be maneuvering around every which way and that won’t be appropriate either.

My brothers are all busy doing something more useful and they keep sending me back inside the sala to converse with the guests.

Converse with the guests?  Most of these people I don’t know.  The other half start off with, “Oh my god, how you’ve grown!” or “How have you been?” which trailed off into many awkward pauses and gaze avoidance.  I have resorted to use the, “Please excuse me. I have something to attend to inside” or something to leave all awkward conversations.

Anyway.  Here I am, most of the evening, sitting there wall flowering (and there isn’t any wallpaper to flower at!)  at my mom’s funeral with a camera I can’t really use.

I feel as useful as a spoon in a knife fight.


The wake continues to be a Mega Love Fest for my mother.  More wreaths arrived and we absolutely ran out of space yesterday.  With some assistance from Aunty Tim, the wreath from my office is one of the latest to arrive.  It’s huge and it’s beautiful.  My dad put it up there in the back row close to mom’s coffin.

Yesterday was hosted by dad’s office and my oldest brother’s group of friends.  Despite all awkwardness, it was good to get reconnected with some of my brother’s old friends.  They haven’t changed a bit, this bunch from the sports club.  Some got married.  Some engaged.  One is may be available and he’s become quite a good looking guy.

Oh wait.  Did I just say that out loud just now?  Heh.

A few more friends from Mater Dei came by last night as well.  And thank god for the friends!  At least I didn’t feel like such a tool.

The day before that, the whole bunch of my MD girls came.  The support was overwhelming for me, especially to get to talk to one of them whose dad passed away unexpectedly just over a month ago.  Look up BFF in a dictionary and you’ll find my Mater Dei class there.  Friends you haven’t seen in ages, still turned up at your mom’s funeral in drove, and sending you warm messages from all over the world.  They also sent a school supply basket in lieu of a wreath.  After this, the temple can give the basket to the temple kids.  Something my mom would’ve really loved.

I told the big group as much as I appreciate them having been there, they came in on the wrong day.  Last night would’ve been better for the single girls, I told them.  My brother’s single friends were everywhere.  Did I mention the good looking one?

Anyways.  Tonight is the last night of the wake/prayers.  Sunday is cremation and Monday is off to the sea.

Thank you everyone for stopping by and leaving your thoughtful messages!


  1. Brandon   •  

    Hey don’t forget you have a husband to come back to!

    I wish I could be there for you, at least you could use me as an excuse to escape those rough situations. I can still fly out if you need me.

    ps. Be happy I stayed here, the pilot lights on the stove went out sometime last night and the whole apartment was filled with gas in the morning. The gas company inspector said if nobody was here to catch that the place quite possibly could have blown up.

    I love you!

  2. Olaina   •  

    B–your comment made us tear up! Such a love!

    And then there was the PS. Need you people have Justin and I split duties and take care of each of you? He’ll drive up there, and I’ll go to Thailand!

    O–A spoon could be quite useful in a knife fight. My first thought was a shield. Justin said you could take out an eye.

    Try to just take in all the love. Like maybe think of it as you being your mom-in-spirit… ummmm… like you’re the vessel through which the love reaches your mom… what I mean is, it’s a lovefest for your mom, technically. But it’s really for YOU and your brothers and dad. And, if Thai ways are anything like Indian ways, having the boys do stuff, while the girl sits around like, well, a Princess… take advantage of it while you can!

    We wish we could be there for you too…

    Just try to let people take care of you for a change. Hostess-with-the-Mostest, (and you really are…. even when you bring us an entire Thanksgiving dinner!), this time is for you.

    From the sounds of it, your mom would want you to feel taken care of, not useless.

    I know it’s easy to say from here (it would drive me crazy–I’m picturing all of this in India with my parents still living there, instead of in HB), but as weird as it is you really are “the insider/outsider”. Maybe if you accept the position (even if others don’t so much) you’ll feel more comfortable in it.

    Heck, what do I know. I’m that fake Indian girl with freakishly white skin that tans well who can’t even speak Hindi, leave along Bengali.

    The Lavender Infused Creme Brulee awaits your return. And me and my hugs, btw. And I’m a little monkey. 🙂

    Love you both!

  3. diwatangbyaning   •  

    Your story just reminds me more of my mom. Well I wish you well and your family. May your mom rest in peace.

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