byakko Thread

Well this is petty personal, but the story kinda affected me since I first heard it when I was very young.

My mom told me about how she caused my grandmother's death. It was when she was in her late teens. My grandma had epilepsy in her later years, and needed medication during her fits. My mom was home alone with her and when grandma had a fit, she panicked. She tried to give her water and the medication, but she didn't do it right, she says. Grandma choked to death either on the water or the fit.

At the funeral, the tradition (we're Chinese) is to place a pearl in the dead person's mouth for payment when travelling to the underworld, like placing gold coins to pay Charon. My mom tried to press the pearl into my grandma's mouth, but the jaw wouldn't move. Only when one of her sisters did it instead, did the jaw on grandma's corpse relax.

A year later, during the Hungry Ghost Festival, a festival when the ghosts of relatives come back from the underworld to visit, and you leave out food for them in offering. We had a cake in the oven, and we found an adult footprint embedded in it when we took it out. We feel it was grandma's.

My mom's guilt is shadow over us sometimes, though it's mostly her's. Me and my siblings have all come close to death at some point in our lives, take that as you will - my sis was nearly dragged out to sea (mom and beach-goers saved her), my brother suffered hypothermia at an amusement park, and I nearly got trampled by horses.

We also have a Bougainvillea plant we got from grandma's estate. It's a gnarly thing that barely blooms no matter how hard we try.

So yeah, I guess it's not so much creepy as it is sad. The bad things that happened to us could be coincidences, but my mom being so open as to tell me the story in the first place makes me feel she never let go of the guilt.