Sunday, April 5, 2015

death, die, dying and the dead

Death. For every living things must die one day.

Death is such a sombre thing to even begin with. The sheer thoughts of death, and process of dying - when one's soul crosses that bridge and depart from this world onto the next is unimaginable and scary.

I remember year 1999. That was a sombre year for me. From my beloved grandpa (my dad's father) who passed away due to old age (he was 89 years old) and then my uncle 'Utih' Derih (my dad's older brother, he succumbed to his long battle with Parkinson) and followed by a very shocking death of another uncle 'Pak Itam' (my dad's brother in-law) just 1 month after uncle 'Utih' passed on...that year was our family 'Black Year'. So much so, even my school friends were saying how weird it was to have strings of death in one family (all from my dad's side) - and true enough, I had to went back to my dad's hometown which was in Lubok China for all three funerals and for that skipped classes (i was in my SPM year - so it was a big frown to skip classes to my teachers). 

As if that was not enough, year 2000 opens with another sombre passing. This time my beloved grandma (my dad's mom) was taken away from us and met her Creator. Grandma ( I called 'uwan') suddenly fell ill and was admitted to Seremban Hospital and we learnt that her liver's was not functioning well and that was the reason her stomach seems bloated). Uwan didn't suffer too long, within a month after she was diagnosed with that, Uwan passed away...I remember vividly that sad night, when the doctors told us to take her home as the hospital's given up hope on Uwan, we already started to cry. And as Uwan was transported back to her home, my relatives and I, convoyed from Seremban to Lubok China like past midnight with the ambulance leading the way. My parents were in the ambulance as well...and suddenly just right at the corner before Uwan's place, the convoy stopped. There was panic and commotion. And everyone just literally stopped and leave their car and started running....so was I. My cousins and I ran as fast as we could and I was literally screaming "uwan, uwan..." with tears coming down...I knew Uwan has left us. who knew that she wanted to leave us from her own house and not the hospital. All of her children and almost all grandchildren and great grandchildren of hers were there witnessing her passing. All of us cried, inconsolably. That night, was the longest night I felt...all of us didn't sleep much, and kept Uwan companied. 

However, just as we thought the dark skies were cleared for us, just few months after Uwan's passing...my dad's younger brother and also his closest buddy whom I called 'Acik' Bakar, followed suit and succumbed to his long battle of Diabetes. For the first time in my life, I saw my dad looking so terribly sad, grief-struck, devastated. We knew he felt his life is much more emptier than it used to be now that Acik is gone...his baby brother. Our favourite uncle as well...Acik was loved by many. And I loved him dearly too. During his last few months and warded in HUKM with his health  deteriorating...my parents would never fail to visit him and my baby sis and i would tag along. We would sleep in the corridors of that cold, long alley nearby his ward often losses sleep and would resume life just as normal the next morning. At that time I was still waiting for a place in Uni after SPM thus often I would catch on some sleep in the morning till afternoon! and by 4pm after dad's back from office - he would take us all to HUKM and stayed there for many hours....and this was the cycle again and again....

now, 15 years has passed - my dad's siblings are down to four - with the eldest  we called 'Pak Ngah' and then aunt 'Mak Itam' (the widowed of Pak Itam), aunt 'Mak Lang' (also a widow for more than 30 years) and lastly my much beloved dad, who his nieces and nephews called 'Achek'. At this point, pak ngah is quite frail and so is mak itam - both in & out of the hospital quite often...even dad is not doing so well post-prostate surgery, he's never been the same. Only Mak Lang is still looking so strong and healthy.

I missed dearly all of my beloved uncles and grandparents. I missed those days we would go back to 'kampong'. I missed so much my Atuk and his stories during the war in Malaya, Atuk was also fluent in English, Tamil, Hokkien and some Japanese. My Atuk, the 'stubborn son' of his dad - one of the richest guy in Lubok China in the 1940s, in fact all of Atuk's brothers made through formal education and became 'somebody' except him who was known to be 'stubborn' and didn't want to do what his father told him to. he didn't want to help with the family business and 'stubbornly' stayed away from his family's wealth - doing all sort of odd jobs to make ends meet. My Atuk left the comfort and lived as 'nobody' ...he was an educated man who ended up as a lorry driver. 

I also missed my Acik Bakar, who was very kind, fatherly, and so giving. I remember he would repeat calling me by my full name until i answered him as "yes Acik Bakar" instead of simple "yes"...he was so strict on manners and was such a family guy. Being the last in his family, he had the opportunity to finish school to uni level - he was a PTD (high ranking government officer) and thus was the only siblings of my dad who was well-off. BUT he never lost his ground and treated us all with kindness. I remember him as a funny guy too. (just like my dad, always cracking jokes).

AlFatihah to all of them. Atuk, Utih, Pak Itam, Uwan and Achik. I know all of you are now resting well in heaven. Wait for me, for my time will come...and we would rejoice once more in the everlasting jannah insyaAllah.

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As for me, 2015 too have seen many deaths thus far. First, there was the shocking and so inhumane death of my dear university friend whom I've known since 2000 - Allahyarham Rais Ramzidi Rrahim. Rais, was such a significant friend in my life. He was my classmate since day one in UiTM and we kept in touch even way after I got married and all. Rais, was very soft-spoken, petite guy, nice and always smiling. Rais was the only friend who would always called me up every now and then, and would never failed to asked about my mom's health. I named my second child, Raessa which is the feminine name of Rais - that means "the wise" in Arabic/ Islam. I cannot lie that when I was looking for a name that starts with the letter 'R' (as to sync with my husband's name that also starts with R) I thought of the name Rais and inevitable thought of Rais, my friend. In fact, I wanted to tell him that I named my daughter just like his name...because that name just so nice & beautiful...Rais was killed by his own construction workers who've strangled him with some cables, beaten him up and ditched him to rot in his own bathroom in his parents old house (which was under renovation) only to be found 36 hours later....the killers (believed to be indon workers, still running free - reckon have fled the country...). When I learnt the news about him, I couldn't help but cry my eyesballs out....I did, cried alone in my office...I thought of his face, I can hear his voice and even recalled that sheepishly shy smiles of his..:(( 



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And on a national level, the passings of famous sports commentator Dato Hasbullah Awang with his legendary remarks such as the "oh sayang sekali..." everytime one misses to score a goal....and of course Allahyarham Tuan Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat the former Kelantan MB and PAS's spiritual leader...Lee Kuan Yew also passed away, and more recently we are saddened by the passing of another prominent political figure and a statesmen, Tan Sri Jamaluddin Jarjis who was killed in a helicopter crash in Semenyih after attending the PM's daughter wedding in Pahang, 

Tan Sri JJ as he was fondly known just by his initials, was one of PM best buddies and significant malay leader, an MP from Rompin which is also my husband's grandparents hometown. I personally do not know him, but i've met him several times during those years when he was the MOSTI minister during my short journo stints - he was a sharp minister, brilliant economist, certified engineer, but most of all he was so down-to-earth, kind and approachable VIP, a minister. cooperative to journos which is a trait all journos appreciate. 

AND my last honour to have met him and worked with him was during one of UMNO's Selangor roundtable meeting - I was involved as the rapporteur for economy's section which had him as the Chairman. I wanted so bad to snap a selfie with him, but due to the overwhelming work that I had to finish in such a tight deadline and not to mention of a subject that is quite foreign to me ( i dislike economy!) LOL - thus i didn't seize that moment. But I remember that time I came in 5 minutes late  (or rather he was super early just like most of those big guns who attended the economic meeting, such important part of the whole UMNO meeting) - my hands trembled as I was typing away things that I did not understand, and often there were many typos and pauses and Tan Sri JJ would stop and point to the screen and corrects my typing (just when I taught he didn't care about such petty things like my job as 'typist'). 

For the haters, say what u want about this man, but he was an exceptional leader - top scorer of his days , he was one of the very few smart ministers in malaysia and UMNO. and now we've lost another great mind in this counrty. AlFatihah Tan Sri JJ :((

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I often wonder and shivers in fear of what my end would be...what it would be for my loved ones. my parents, my husband, my daughters. For I've sinned so much to even deserve a decent passing...but I hope if I am taken away to meet Allah Almighty, that I'd go in peace, with my body intact so that my loved ones would remember me as that, that my death be swift and Allah be gentle with my soul for his keeping. I pray that Allah do the same with my much beloved parents, my loving and kind husband and my two beautiful daughters. 

O Allah forgive my sins. Grant me your jannah. And keep me and my loved ones, safe. Amiin.

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