Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Kings Mothers Cremation, and Jacks fever

On the 18th of August, the Kings mother was cremated. Since our arrival, and well before, preparations were being made for this event. The tower and bull posted here were hand crafted and adorned with gold and jewels. They were carried in a procession down the main street in Ubud. Over 20 villages showed up for this event, and tourist were welcomed to participate as well. It is just shocking to me that such a fine piece of art, that many people labored over, day in and day out, for months was burned to ashes in a matter of minutes. But this is the way of the Balinese. They celebrate life and honor a very big way.

The Balinese believe that a soul borrows a physical human body, so upon death this body is returned to the five elements- wind, earth, fire, water, and ether- to release the soul and enable it to reincarnated on earth or unite with the divine supreme being.

Of course the every day Balinese does not have a tower or bull as grand as this. And if the family can not afford a costly cremation, the body is buried until the funds are available, or more members pass on. The body or bodies are then unearthed and they hold a joint cremation ceremony.

When someone dies in Bali, no weeping or grief is openly displayed, for this makes the soul unwilling to leave. The entire village gathers as a noisy procession leads the way as dozens of men carry the body in it's tower on their shoulders, through town....usually down the main road. ( 400 hundred men carried the Kings Mothers tower and half way into the 5 mile procession, they switched off...another 400 stepped in to carry her massive...and well.....heavy, tower) We have witnessed many processions during our travels around the island. Traffic stops. Each time they cross an intersection, they spin the tower to confuse the soul so it cannot find it's way home to disturb the living. They carry the body to the family cemetery, after it is taken on tour, and then a set of young chickens are set free to symbolize the souls release. Holy water is then poured over the body, along with letters of introduction to the various deities, and money, to pay the underworld demons. Then it is set ablaze.

We missed participating and the crowds of people, all dressed in their finest sarongs as they watched this incredible fire ceremony take place.......we had our own fire to attend to........

My baby boys fever came back with a vengeance a few days ago. He remained fever free for two days after his visit with Wayan ( the healer) . She had said if his fever came back, he would need we called our driver, Wayan, ( more on everyones name being Wayan later) and he took us to a western style medical clinic in Ubud. I think this was established for travelers because there were no Balinese waiting to be seen. After the doctor examined Jack, she had his blood drawn. Uncertain of what it was, the blood test would confirm or rule out Typhoid fever. My stomach felt like it was being punched by a pro boxer at this point. Typhoid fever can be very serious if left untreated. She sent us home, and said she would call with the results by 3 pm. We arrived in her office at 8 am,,,,,,,,,, 7 long hours of waiting and wondering. We called her at 3:05, and it was confirmed to be Typhoid fever. She gave us two different pills ( one to boost his immune system and the other is a antibiotic) to give Jack for 7 days, and told us he will be just fine, and not to worry. She has treated many cases of Thypoid fever with a 100% success rate. So, while holistic medicine is wonderful, and useful at times, in this moment I am thankful for the chemicals that are saving my boys life.

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1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness, had no idea that Jack was worse or had Typhoid Fever!!! Was out of town and unplugged last weekend - very glad to hear that he is better - how scary for all of you! Thank goodness for antibiotics, they are wonderful when really needed!

    Counting the days until you return home, my dear friend - give my love to Jack and Patrick...

    (((((Hugs))))) to you!!