I am not Chinese, but my dad’s adoptive mother was. Lola Goco, as we called her, showed me and my sister a glimpse of the Filipino-Chinese culture when she was still alive. She followed a lot of customs and superstitions, but she never insisted them upon us. She never had to, because Dad always made sure we knew about them.
One such belief Dad told us about is the Ghost Month, the seventh month of the year when ghosts and spirits mingled in the world of the living — our world.
In Chinese culture, the fifteenth day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar is called Ghost Day and the seventh month in general is regarded as the Ghost Month (鬼月), in which ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, come out from the lower realm. (Ghost Festival, Wikipedia)
As a writer, the idea of ghosts and spirits wandering about is quite cool, not to mention a treasure throve of plot bunnies. I prefer to think of it that way, because the alternative is losing sleep about it at night.
It’s easier to think of superstitions as simply superstitions, stories as just stories — as fiction. Based on real life, but not exactly. However, when these superstitions blur the lines with coincidences, I can’t help but wish I never knew of these stories.
You see, I never really took the idea of “Ghost Month” seriously. Dad cautioned me frequently, but I always shrug his warnings off. Then last year happened.
So much pain and sacrifices in just one month. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I didn’t get a repeat of it this year.
My mom got hospitalized again, and the Selfish people are hovering once more with their sparsely disguised plans of self-centeredness and ill-gratitude. Same thing as last with a few variations, but both in the Ghost Month.
The logical part of me says this is all a coincidence. It just so happened that my mom’s stubborness and insistence on not following her Diabetician’s recommended diet brought her back to the hospital in the Ghost Month. And the Instigator of the Selfish people also just happened to be here in the Ghost Month.
Perhaps they are all just coincidences, and I’m just trying to make sense of why this crap is happening all over again. I don’t really know.
One thing is certain though — Ghost Month or not, July is turning out to be a very crappy month.
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