I feel like for every major life milestone, the Chinese like to throw chicken in there to celebrate. Chinese New Year, weddings, funerals – there is always chicken and it has a different symbolism in each situation.
At a wedding, serving chicken (symbolizing a phoenix) and lobster (symbolizing a dragon) together form two halves of a whole to promote a good marriage. And laying a steamed chicken at the base of a headstone can be a pleasant meal for a deceased love one.
I know that this post probably isn’t as cheerful as my old ones. And if you’ve been following my Twitter feed, I’m sure you’ve noticed that they’ve been a bit sadder than usual. That’s because, after a year-long fight with esophageal cancer, my uncle passed away this past Saturday. It was very sudden and I think my entire family is still reeling from the loss.
I’ve been dealing with a lot of emotions with this. I’m sorry if I’ve seen or talked with you since then and never mentioned anything. The truth is, I can barely think about it all without wanting to cry or actually crying, so I just don’t think about it at all except in private.
His funeral was today, but I chose to honor his memory on my own terms, both here and in May, when I go back to North Carolina. Today, I roasted a chicken and served it alongside his stuffing. Every bite was bittersweet but somehow the process of making it was soothing. It reinforced the idea that he may be gone but his memory will always live on in little ways like this.
He was a son, brother, beloved uncle and friend. I will never forget him.