the final phase

p/s This was written few months back. WARNING : THIS IS ONE LONG POST.

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2 deaths. In less than a month.

My uncle (mom’s younger sister’s husband) had passed away few weeks ago when I was lying on my bed here at my hostel. I was just having an almost-one-hour phone call with mom when I received another one from her at around 11 p.m. I literally had no words coming out from my mouth except for ‘Allah’. My face wasn’t even able to make any expressions other than being shocked. It was just like any ordinary nights and I certainly didn’t expect to have a death mail while I was relaxing on my bed. Everything was too fast. All those memories, the sights of him, the time spent. They flashed before my eyes like a lightning and just like the lightning, they were gone in an instant. Leaving only the grave sound of pain from my heart to the whole body.

My uncle was a teacher. He had been a teacher for many years even before he got married to my aunt. He once taught for some time at my school where he got particularly close with one of my coolest English teacher in primary school. Safe to say, they both were the rebel kinds. The kinds that I personally feel would sitting down in a mamak stall, having a constructive conversation over education and life in general. Like any other imperfect human being, my uncle had his black hole in the past which I prefer not to lay out here mostly because he found his right path afterwards even though it took him a while but it’s the good change that matters. God has His remarkable way of arranging things that none of us can ever predict. Alhamdulillah, He had given him guidance and with that holy guidance, my uncle had been able to shed his skin of the past and lead a much meaningful life, with his family specifically.

It’s pretty obvious, family is number one to him. You see, my uncle likes to travel and going places. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with a critical level of diabetes which required him to go for a dialysis treatment thrice a week and left him with no choice but to stop teaching. Despite having to use wheelchair as part of his daily routine, he never failed to find a way to make his children happy. He would ask my aunt to drive them to Bandung, the two Highlands (Genting and Cameron) and nearly the whole Malaysia even if it’s only for one night. He never once considered his condition as a hindrance in spending time with his family and I truly respect that the most about him.

I remembered his constant concern about me getting scholarship and his questions about my future endeavors. I figured as a teacher himself, it’s within his nature to have these education-related worries which was a benefit for me really. And I also remember how I felt hilarious that he urged me to take up History (don’t ask me I’ve no idea why). Probably another thing that I admire the most of him is his generosity. My uncle is one selfless man. In fact,one time he took both his family and mine to a seafood stall and everything was on him. Even during dinner, he would pass around the dishes, asking us to finish it while he ate a very small amount of those food. That was the final moment I had with him. Glad it was a beautiful one. :”)

.

Tonight, again I received a text from mom after a phone call saying my old grandma neighbour had just left this world. Though this time, her death was sort of expected after the doctor told her children to be prepared.

I called her ‘atok’ and yes, I treated her as special as my own grandmother. My neighbour is an old couple who lives behind my home with their three out of ten children. Since I was a toddler, my brother and I kept going to their house to play with their grandchildren. Basically, I grew up with the whole big family. His husband (who I called ‘atok’ as well) even built a simple mini bridge from the back gate of my little garden to their area because there is a deep drain in between. Back in school days, either my brother and I or their grandchildren would come visit (sometimes slept) at each other’s house whenever school holidays arrived. She would always send us food she cooked. And the few final days of every Ramadhan, my nose would follow the heavenly smell from her kitchen where I could find her sitting at the dining table, moulding the dough for kuih tart (pineapple tart) and oh hers were always the best!

Atok (the grandma) was a really stubborn lady. She refused to go for medical checkups at hospitals even after her children had repeatedly advised to do so. She would keep all to herself and let herself suffered alone. She would withstand everything while she still had the strength. One day, Atok began to eat ridiculously less to the extend refusing to eat until she became bony. Apparently, she had some kind of stomach ulcer/cancer but Alhamdulillah she went through a successful surgery. Sadly, she couldn’t seem to gain weight and wasn’t as cheerful as before. Since then, she experienced few unpleasant sickness until a minor stroke hit her, causing her to be detained in the ICU. She was dismissed after few days and I visited her at her house. She cried.

Not long after that (couple months after), the second blow of minor stroke happen. During this time, I managed to visit her again with mom and my grandma at the hospital. By then, she had became silent most of the time due to her incapability to swallow non-fluid food. She had to use tube for digestion through her nose down to her stomach, which results in difficulty to speak. And she could hardly recognize me. The saddest thing was her eyes. Her eyes looked like they can utter invisible words. That was the only communication we had and it was also my last time seeing her.

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Me writing this is never for sympathy or mere story-telling. I write this because it’s the only way I can remember the moments and final days I had with these two beloved souls. If someday I reach that point where I can only see vague mental pictures of them, I’ll always come back to this post. 

Now that I’m entering adulthood, I realize death keeps happening to the people around me and it has become a common word which I need to bitterly swallow. I no longer have someone telling me ‘”he/she’s going to someplace better” like how people did when I was an innocent kid, believing in any make up stories. It’s something you understand and feel yourself, no matter how hard you want to drag your feet away from it.

All those deaths plant a thought in my psyche, of mom leaving for good. Just thinking about it, I know very well I can never be prepared for that. If I lose her, I lose everything. My best friend, shoulders to cry on, happiness to share with and more importantly, a mother to confide in. Even though deep down I try convincing myself Allah loves her more, it’s going to take years to adapt with her physical and maternal love absence. It’s a child’s worst nightmare. Although this permanent worry haunts me from time to time, I’m aware for a fact that all I can do within my limit of power is to pray for her lifelong well-being and to appreciate her every minute I can. It may still be insufficient but I’m not letting the opportunities I’m given go to waste.

A kindly reminder to all forgetful humans : Spend time with your parents and family as much as you can. We can never predict our expiry dates or theirs. Give them a call, send them texts, lend your ears, do things together whatever! While we’re still breathing, let’s make them feel proud, loved and appreciated. 

May Allah bless us with good health and long life.

I love you, Ibu, Abang, Atok. :’)

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under your nose

I woke up and went to the kitchen to find my mother, sitting on the bar stool while scrolling her Instagram. Leaning my head on her left shoulder affectionately like a toddler, I murmured

“I’m happy”

Puzzled and slightly chuckled, mom must’ve thought that her daughter woke up on the wrong side of the bed. 

“Hmm?? Why? Something you wanna share?”

“Nah, I’m just… happy”

Lately, I’ve came to realize that happiness isn’t as expensive as people think it is. From what I’ve learned, part of it is all about appreciating the right people.

It’s true when they say we only realize one’s significance only after it’s gone. We fail to grasp that people come and go, even the ones you thought never would. You’re fortunate if that person creeps back into your life even after you just realize their value. But what if they don’t? What if you realize it way too late?

Sometimes, I think we look too hard, we don’t actually realize. While we search for beautiful uncertainties, we lose grip of worn out ropes. Truth is, you don’t have to strain your eyes and walk miles to look. Just OBSERVE what and who is in your life right now. Is it a lot? Is it just a few? Honestly, who cares? The point is, you still have them and they still have you.

The thing about us humans is that we’re constantly in a so-called life mission to search for new things. For MORE. Because well, our excuse is that we’re so used to the things that are currently in our life, it feels boring. We want ADVENTURE, we want THRILL, we want ADRENALINE RUSH. And what’s an adventure if we don’t go a little bit risky, we say. By risky, it means gambling your entire trust to a stranger. 

Don’t get me wrong, new things and new people are great! I love learning them. Unfortunately, it is our nature as a human being to be forgetful. Once we found new things, we abandon the old ones (most of the time). And we come back to them only after we get slapped by truth.

We take things for granted, really. Purposely or not. We chase after the wrong things. We appreciate the wrong souls. And worst of all, we CHOOSE to do both. Unconsciously or not. 

Perhaps it’s time to redeem those wrong choices while you still can. After all, mistakes are what make life more meaningful. Start observing the people and things within your radius. Learn to appreciate their existence. Love them even if there’s possibility of leaving. Stop looking for perfection for no such thing exists. Accept them for who they were, for who they are and for who they will be. Stop waiting for people to make the effort. Remember, people are only as important as you want them to be. 

The right ones will meant to stay. Who knows, maybe it’s the ones that have already stayed with you since the beginning. You just need to focus your view on them. You’ll see, they’ve always been there all along. 

Stop chasing. Start appreciating. 🙂

“….the best thing that’s ever happened to you is sitting there, right under your nose”

– Rosie Dunne. Love, Rosie. –

the sacrifice

It was fine back then
I thought it was natural,
Friends will have to be apart someday
No matter how platonicly close they were,
Physically distant is inevitable
We ARE holding our maps
Following the trails of our dreams.

But never had I thought
Nor expect,
That we would be eventually
Speak in different languages,

As I once believe like a child,
Of us being telepathies,
We could read each other’s minds
With the help of two cunning glances
And not a single word at all,

But now it seems I lost that ability.

WE lost the ability.

I could be undoubtedly wrong
Though somehow I can feel

A tiny shred of insincerity,
In our chats when all I read was
“You know, this and that”

And I realized
“So this is it”
“The day we ran out of topics for real”
I couldn’t recall imagining to have such moment
At least not with you.

And there are still so many things
In our bucket list we fail to scratch out,
Not even deep talks and stargazing till 3am,
Neither slumber parties
Nor spending a night for holidays,
Oh well,
Perhaps the list had gone rusty in your memory chestbox.

I now see you celebrating blast
Though not with me,
But if what makes a true friend is
allowing you to have more of it,
Then,
I’ll be taking a step back or perhaps few,
And I will surely do it so discreet
So subtle you’ll can hardly notice,

For being a sacrifice
Is what I am unconciously always be.

N.N.

bus stop

Like strangers meeting at a bus stop
Uttering words only when needed
Between a hello and a goodbye
And when the bus arrives
One of us goes on board
And never look back.

N.N.

train ride

We are all passengers
Boarding a train no one knows its destination,
Folks, youth, children
Replacing the ones that leave
At every stop it can possibly take few breath,
We might either be among who leave
Or being left
Well, most probably both.

It may be only one train
But remember,
The seats are many
Filled and empty,
We may change places sometimes,
To enjoy views by the window,
To catch up with old friends,
To make new ones,
And to randomly indulge in life stories.

You should realize by now,
We are all on a pretty exhausting
Yet exhilarating ride,
Though behind us fear is chasing
Curiosity is going to save us from upfront,
Therefore start pondering yourself
Your heart and your mind too,

“Do you know who sits beside you?
Will you bring them with you?
Or are you still watching flashbacks on the glass window?
And leave like how you first board this train?”

N.N.

“i’m not here”

“Why don’t you hang out with us here?”

“I want to, really. But I could never fit in with you guys. You guys always have something to talk about which I couldn’t get myself involved in. And I’ve nothing much interesting things to say either. So I’ll end up being awkward and quiet and isolated. Most of the time no one cares, no one bothers to ask for me and sometimes it hurts when you don’t even look at me while saying goodbye. And that’s why I guess it has always been a problem for me. Fitting in is emotionally drained.”

Sure, people keep saying “why fitting in when you’re born to stand out”. That’s the thing, not everyone likes to stand out, to be the center of attention. People fail to realize that fitting in is as difficult as standing out.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being alone. It gives me space to breathe and appreciate other things. But one time or another, I would want someone to include me in their conversation. I would want them to interact with me just to help me reduce my awkwardness. I would want all of them to say hi or ask me to stay and hang out with them. I would want them saying bye bye as if they’re looking forward to see me tomorrow. Most importantly, I would want them to mean it. Not because I’m posting this and everyone get all sympathizing me. I just want a genuine act, that’s all.

It’s hard having to go everwhere alone. When everytime your friend asks “Are you going there alone?” and you’re used to saying “Yeah, it’s okay”. Or “Why  don’t you go together with them?” because they’re a group and I know I’ll be killing their fun if I join. Because I’m awkward and some of the things they talk about, they prefer me to not hear.  Come to think of it, I often put their feelings and comfort above mine. Maybe because I wouldn’t mind letting me hurting myself because I’m used to it. At least it’s not by anyone else.

But I’m oblivious too. About how people don’t care. How people can be deceived by a smile. How people think “She’s always alone so she’ll be okay”. How inviting someone to chat can made her day. How people laugh at the thought of fitting in being a struggle. How people are ignorant about its seriousness. How people have no idea that there are people succumbing to this disease.

It’s all complicated if I try so hard to fit in. And it’s a whole lot easier to just be invisible. For no one ever notices something they cannot see.

So here I am, finding a puzzle to fit.

Sometimes, it’s about reading your environment real quick, and then finding the bits that fit you.

– Melissa Keil, Life in Outer Space –

six

When time and people
Swiftly pass by,
In memories sometimes I stuck
For in there,
I can always replay everything
That fresh feeling of joy and happiness,
I can watch us having a blast
Like we were the only ones living,
And the rest of the eyes didn’t matter
Because we built our own bubble there,
A bubble that were meant for us
A haven where our own laughs echoed.

My mistake
I believed in forever and beyond,
In something so delicate and fragile
Wishing it to be solidly permanent,
I missed glimpses of fingers outside
Poking our bubble till it popped,

And some of us began to walk out
Leaving just me and the empty chairs,
And these pieces of ripped bubbles,
Nothing can make this whole again
But their return
Making a new one
Together.

“Was I too selfish?
To own the thought
Of having you,
All six of you to myself”.

N.N.

Happy Sibling’s Day.

See I wanted you here
All along but my fear
Just keeps haunting me won’t let me go
So it’s hard to say I love you

– Alessia Cara –

small is enough

Come to think of it, actually the more people you know, the lonelier you get. Because quantity doesn’t necessarily reflect quantity. Sometimes, small circle is perfect enough. And I’m grateful among those faces I’ve known, I have one similar to that. I thought by involving in societies, you get more friends but I was deeply wrong. Most of them turn out to be a disappointment to me. You get to see varieties of personalities and attitudes within them which don’t seem to fit your puzzles and you end up learning that not everyone is like you. Not all can embrace criticism and certainly, not all can satisfy your expectations. It’s kinda sad to know that they choose to behave certain ways when they can be so much better.

Grateful that I have my own small family which is perfect to me and that’s enough for me to make my days brighter. They’re the ones I will always return to at the end of the day, no matter how long we don’t meet each other. We always make time for each other. Even if it’s 30 mins, that’s more than enough for me to look at their faces with my own eyes.

Qayyum, Nadh, Amir, Min, Mun.

I love you guys.

same you

To those who are still
The same person I know
From the first moment we met
And never ever change since,

Maybe it means nothing to you
But my happiness grows from you
And forever your names will be
Engraved on my tombstone of life,

So thank you,
For not changing who you are,
The you I had chosen to love
With all your beauty and flaws.

N.N.