Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Funeral Blues

Just over a week ago, here in Liuzhou, someone I considered my sister suddenly died, just 41. It transpired she was suffering from diabetes, but was in denial and not taking the prescribed advice or medication. This was compounded by the few people who knew about her condition steering her towards nonsensical folk “medicines” instead. I saw her just two weeks ago and had no idea she was ill.

She was also taking care of her mother who suffers from early onset dementia, leaving mama totally lost, but she doesn’t know she is.

She took care of me and helped me out many times. She took care of everyone except herself.

Life is cruel.

Her sister flew back from the UK where she has lived for over 15 years and her brother also came back from where he works in Guangdong – of course.

It has been a shitty week.

But what surprised me most was something I didn’t know. I’ve been to countless weddings in China over the years; I’ve been to 100 day old baby parties (it is considered bad luck to celebrate the birth until the child lasts 100 days); I’ve even been to a divorce party!

But never to a funeral. And I still haven’t. I learned that local custom dictates that no one older than the departed’s generation may attend the funeral. This comes from the whole elder worship thing. The young must pay respect to their elders, but an elder should never reciprocate.

In practice, this meant not only that I couldn’t go, but only her siblings and one close friend of her sister could go. Her mother couldn’t (not that she possibly knew what was happening, but that is irrelevant).

As my lost friend’s sister said to me, if she had been born during the “one child policy” years, it would have meant that no one could have gone.

I have to accept the local culture, but I do think it is very cruel.

Goodbye sister. I will miss you. A good person and the best cook in China! I will never cook Chinese again without thinking of you.

. This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 7th, 2018 at 4:25 pm and is filed under Liuzhou News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Funeral Blues”

  1. Susan Guailou Says:

    American RN here. I’m sorry for your loss. As a source of comfort: The kidney failure caused by dehydration when the body can’t pee away all the extra glucose? Not painful. Slowly reaching a blood sugar of 800mgdL? Not painful. (As a comparison, a normal body fluctuates around 100). The coma the body sinks into because of kidney failure? Not painful. Many people don’t know they have diabetes until a health crisis develops: About 400/10,000 according to stats for our (non-NHS) country.

  2. Liuzhou Laowai Says:

    Thank you. In this case, she knew she had diabetes, but chose to ignore it. Every time I’ve visited a hospital in China, no matter why, I’ve been tested for diabetes as a matter of routine.

  3. Robert Says:

    About this time last year I attended a funeral service at a crematorium just outside Liuzhou. The service was run with thoughtfulness and sincerity but I have to say the atmosphere was unpleasant

  4. canrun Says:

    My condolences.

    I’ve been to too many funerals at that bloody Liuzhou crematorium. Don’t ever want to be there again.

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