A Tiny Funeral


Chuseok is the Korean harvest festival. One of the most important aspects of this holiday is honoring of one’s ancestors. The family will visit the family tomb. There they will clean the tomb and prepare a meal on a stone table. For some this is an offering to the ancestor’s spirit to bring them luck, for others its a way to keep the memory alive. For others it is just a motion they have to go through to placate the familial or societal expectations.

The morning after the three day Chuseok celebration of 2014 I went for an early morning walk, going further out of my way for my morning coffee ritual. At the foot of the stone steps was a dead mouse, laid out as if for a funeral. Tiny flowers strewn in mourning; a used cigarette placed in memory. Poor mouse, it was your favorite brand, wasn’t it? I never knew you, I know not how you lived or died, but your funeral table reminds me of others.

How do we remember and honor those who passed on? What minutia will others remember about me?

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