I will probably do a post on funerals and rituals; following my own experience at a non-Christian funeral, but before that, I must share on stories which were shared by cousins and aunts during my grandmother's wake.
There's this cousin brother, let's just refer to him as B, who was always with grandmother. As his parents are running their own business/stall, he will be going to grandmother's place after school each day and therefore, they kept each other company.
I remember how grandmother used to tell us that B was a very good and obedient boy, and he would always eat anything that was served for lunch without complaining. He will also help to play the CDs or DVDs for grandmother or turn to her favorite channel, even if it means listening or watching some oldies that he had never heard of.
It was without a doubt that grandmother was quite fond of him and he too, was just used to being with grandmother.
When grandmother passed away, B was holding it back although tears were flowing down his cheeks, the poor boy.
Anyway, this is a story which B told us during the wake; which took place at this funeral parlor in Batu Lanchang.
There was a washroom located at the back of each parlor; the whole funeral parlor had 4 halls to hold four different funerals at the same time.
This washroom was attached to each hall.
The washroom was located all the way at the back but there was a small door that led to the kitchen and also another door where one can access the main hall, where the deceased lay.
B was having a drink and went to the kitchen to wash his cup; which was adjacent to the hall and also the main hall.
Take note that the kitchen faces the nearby cemetery. (Yes, the funeral parlor was located next to a cemetery)
When B was watching the cup, he heard someone called his name, "B, B" softly.
He thought it was his own mother, but he did not answer as he thought it was quite weird especially when the voice sounded more like grandmother!!
He was rooted to the ground and was scared as he knew that grandmother was just lying in the hall behind him, and he dared not look or run.
He just stood there, and the voice continued to call him, "B, B" but it slowly faded.
He said he felt frozen there, but when the voice could no longer be heard, he just ran out of the kitchen and back to the hall compound where the rest of us are.
He did not dare to walk to the back alone anymore, and each time he wanted to go to the washroom, he asked his dad to accompany him.
Furthermore, B was a rather timid boy and that incident clearly left him shaken.
Needless to say, he never walked into the kitchen anymore.
What do you say, was it grandmother, or was it another spirit?
People say that during the Hungry Ghost month, there are just endless wandering spirits everywhere and these wandering spirits have no home where they could go to, and relied only on the burnt offerings by the kind living by the roadside or at the temples.
These spirits could take on any form, and some of the spirits could be malicious too.
Never mind that in normal times we are often told not to simply answer when someone calls you softly when there is no one around; in places such as forests, dark alleys, and definitely not in funeral parlors/cemeteries, let alone now that this is during the Hungry Ghost month.
Thank goodness that B had that sense not to answer to that call, or who knows what could have happened to him.
Anyway, if it was truly grandmother, it was just probably her spirit coming to bid him farewell.