The ticking (of time)... The morning I will NEVER forget!!!
Dear readers, any new post shall come after this one. This will always be my first ever entry, in honouring my memories with Mak.
New entry below: Eid greetings from Pakcik Turtle.
First created: 25 March 2011, 8:50am
Last updated: 04 May 2011, 8:25pm
When I decided to blog again a few weeks ago, little did I expect and never did I wish that the 2nd entry this year would be about the day that my mum passed away...
Mak was loved by many due to her loving and caring nature and how she touched people's lives. We are missing her so much, so greatly that sometimes, until today, some of us still shed our tears.
One thing for sure, Mak's death has greatly affected different individuals in different ways. Some miss how she regularly visited them. Others miss the sight of her, when she greeted and welcoming them at the front door right up to when she bid them goodbye.
People had turned to her for advice or just to share our problems, whether by seeing her in person or by calling her up. Mak made us feel appreciated and she treated us all the same, respective of who. We are still in sorrow Mak, saddened by your unexpected passing.
I trust, not one person in this world who has their mums by their sides when they grow up, would ever want to lose their mums. Ever! As for me, I’m not sure how or when it started, but I do know that some time when I was still in school, I was praying that my mum would never leave me alone, that she would never die. I was even hoping to God to take me first, instead of her, because I couldn’t imagine living without her around...
Maybe that belief had somehow crawled its way and embedded itself in my subconscious mind that up until recently, I still thought that my mum was going to live forever, or at least she would outlive me.
Just like between most parent and child out there, my mum and I were quite tight. There were stuffs that until today, only Mak knew and I am quite sure, some of the things she told me, she never told anybody else.
Every day, I would call her up. Even when I was attending a course or on a vacation (if not abroad), I would still make the effort to talk to her.
For some, you might think what I could possibly have to say to her every day. Well, just like those who still live with their parents, there are always things to say to each other rite?
I just loved to hear her tone when she picked up the phone and said “Assalamualaikum”. She put a certain melody to it. Sometimes, the way that I responded "Waalaikumussalam" also in tune with hers. Now, it’s just in my memory.
Some of our conversations may occasionally revolved different things, but for most calls, these were the usual stuffs that I would ask her:
“Mak buat apa?” (what were you doing?)
Mak dah sembahyang (Dhuha) ke?” (Were you praying Dhuha?) “Mak tengah ngaji Qur’an ke?” (Were you reciting the Qur’an?)
“Sky (our cat) teman Mak solat tadi tak? Sky sekarang suka tidur kat mana? Sky sihat?” (Did Sky accompany you while you were praying? Where does Sky like to sleep these days? Is Sky well?)
Asking about Sky was a must for me everytime I talked to her over the phone. She too had noticed that about me. Sky - now 16, who was bought by my sister in the US, had become my parents’ companion. Sky was very cuddly with Mak – sitting by Mak’s sejadah when she prayed or reading the Qur’an, waking Mak up almost every night just to get her to accompany him eating, climbing up the stairs only when called by Mak and at times, would follow Mak around the house to whichever rooms she went into. I remember how she was so concerned when Sky had developed a growth underneath his ear. She was against the idea to get the growth surgically removed, fearing that Sky might not take the operation well and died. She did not want to risk losing Sky, losing her pet friend...
Turned out, it was Mak who left us first......
“Mak minum apa pagi tadi? Mak makan apa tengah hari ni, masak ke beli?” (What did you have for breakfast? What are you planning to have for lunch, you cook or just buy from outside?)
“Mak takda merayap pergi mana-mana hari ni?” (You are not planning to crawl around today?) – we always jokingly said the word merayap to describe going somewhere.
“Ayah buat apa? Ayah dah pergi kelas (mengajar)?” (What is Ayah doing? Has Ayah gone to teach religious classes?”
“Mak Ibu ada plan balik Muar?” (Is Mak Ibu (her older sister who lives in Malacca) coming back to Muar?)
“Atuk Batu Pahat apa khabar?” (How is Grandma (Ayah’s mother) in Batu Pahat?)
“Tadi Mak ada pergi rumah Mak Lang? Mak Lang apa khabar?” (Did you go to Mak Lang’s house today? How is she doing?) - Mak Lang is Mak’s auntie who lives on her own.
“Tok Cik sihat? Apa khabar dia?” (How is Tok Cik doing?) – Tok Cik is Mak Lang’s brother. Tok Cik lost his wife a few years ago. Both were very close to Mak. Mak had helped in whatever ways she could to ease Tok Cik’s grief. Tok Cik recently remarried, two days after Mak was laid to rest. The date for Tok Cik to remarry was agreed by many, including Mak. Mak’s death was indeed unexpected… by many.
Of course, our conversation was never this scripted. For most of time, after asking one or two of the usual stuffs, we ended up talking about almost everything under the sun.
On certain days, if there were more things to say, like if we had certain plans the coming weekend, or to update her on my son’s funny behaviours (who turned 4 last 1st April), I would call her more than once in a day.
Unless I heard from her or Ayah that she had not been feeling well, I hardly had to ask from either of them if she was well. Mak had always been healthy and well. She made her regular check ups and doctors always gave her the good news. Other than her cholesterol level which was sometimes quite high, she passed all her other tests. Maybe this was partly the reason why I still thought she had plenty of years ahead of her – plenty enough to see her grand children grow up.
One time, I asked her if my routine calls ever bugged her in any way. She said, she was very happy everytime she received my calls. She would start to wonder (though never to make a big fuss about it) when I missed calling her.
In the past, I didn’t realize I had this one funny habit, until Mak pointed it out one day. She said, despite knowing that it was her who picked up the phone (and the fact that there were no other female adults in the house), I would still ask “Mak ya?” I made her chuckle (silently) every single time I did that.
The habit stopped after that. Now that Mak is gone, the habit had mysteriously come back, during the few times when I called Mak Ibu. I remember, I had said "Mak Ibu ya?" Could my subconscious mind be hoping that Mak Ibu would correct me? Like Mak did….?
(You might wonder, how often did I call Ayah? I spoke to him whenever possible, during the times when I called Mak up. Usually, at the time when I called, Ayah was busy doing house chores, or preparing his course materials, or was not even home, teaching classes. With Ayah hardly kept his handphone with him, calling Mak’s handphone seemed to be the best way to keep in touch. Ayah would normally call me after his night classes, to ask how everyone was doing or to speak to Ikhwan)I go back hometown with my family at least once in a month. Occasionally, we also take extended weekends.
Mak just loved to see Ikhwan whenever she could, or to speak to Ikhwan over the phone, (although sometimes, Ikhwan was too busy playing or not in the right mood, to want to talk to her).
Mak practically knew about almost every single cheeky and smart thing that Ikhwan said or did. Even by just hearing stories about Ikhwan from me, she was already excited and sometimes impressed by his behaviours. She said, judging from Ikhwan’s bubbly nature and quick thinking, he could very well grow up to be a very smart and soleh (religious) man. So, she encouraged me to raise him well. Insha’ Allah Mak…
About one month prior to that fateful day, we went back hometown (the 2nd last time I ever saw her in Muar). Not long after that weekend, Mak started complaining about how she lost her appetitie to eat. She went to see 3 different doctors, including the one who gave us the immunisation for our Umrah trip. She took different tests just to be certain - but test results all showed Mak was fine. I did not go home again during this period, as Mak said she was not in a serious condition. Further, we planned to do so on the weekend of 12-13 March.
10th March (Thursday) - I was listening to IKIM FM on my way home from work. The ustaz was talking about ways to get others to listen and follow our advice/instructions. One of the examples given, was how to talk to our sick parents so we could get them to go to the hospital. Immediately upon hearing that, I had this weird feeling. For some reason unknown, I thought about Mak. Mak was never afraid of needles or the doctors. Although she had seen different doctors, Mak sure had not gone to the hospital. Maybe this was a sign that I should bring Mak to the hospital this weekend. If only I did...
11th March (Friday) - After work, I brought wife and kid to catch the movie, Mars Needs Moms. We couldn't go back to Muar that Friday evening (as we would usually do) because wife had to work the next morning. So, we departed on Saturday evening instead. The movie ended after 9pm. While waiting for wife to complete her Isha' prayer, I called Mak. When Mak heard where we were, Mak commented in a non-scolding manner "merayap aja korang ni.." (you guys hardly stay home). It was the last time I ever heard her saying "merayap".. How I Need my Mom still....
12th March (Saturday) - it was the start of a week long school holiday. The traffic along the highway was horrendous. Because of that, I only reached Muar close to 10pm. I was surprised to see how pale and frail looking Mak was. Mak said, she had lost 7kg for the past one month. Knowing that we all already had our dinner, Mak wanted to go to bed. I didn't object. In fact, I encouraged her to (sleep). Mak didn't make me any coffee that time, and neither did she have any energy to chit chat with me as usual. Poor Mak, because of waiting for me, she had to stay up late. Otherwise, although she may not be able to sleep immediately, she would have gone to rest on the bed early, as early as 8pm (according to Ayah).
That night, I had a weird feeling again. There is a single bed in Mak's room. I felt so much wanting to sleep with Mak that night, to sleep on that single bed. But, I didn't voice it out. I was thinking, how could an adult man like me, still wanting to do that. If only I did go ahead. If only I did sleep in her room. Now...that chance is never going to come again.
13th March (Sunday) - We didn't have Mak's fried rice that morning of course (I sorely miss her fried rice, along with her few other dishes, that tasted so delicous and different, no one else could beat). As early as 8am, all four of us (except Mak) were ready to go to Ayah's Umrah class. Mak couldn't go for she did not feel very well. She looked very sad, for she wanted so badly to go to the class with Ikhwan.
After lunch, both my wife and I mentioned about our intention to bring Mak to the hospital, in order to be thorough. Mak didn't really object, except saying that she would get the result for her complete blood test from a GP the next morning. She said, any decision to go to the hospital would depend on what the result entail. Mak didn't really object, and I didn't really persuade (like what the IKIM ustaz had taught me). I was so stupid and selfish. Even worse, I fell asleep for the whole freaking one and a half hours on the couch. That time could have been better utilised by bringing her to the hospital instead. I feel like I had let Mak down....bad!
After waking up, it was almost time to go back. Ayah had gone for a class, so we missed him. Before getting into the car, I kissed her hand and cheeks, and whispered to her ears 'Mak...try to get something to eat.' When leaving the house, as usual, I honked and waved again for one last time. Usually, I couldn't really see Mak anymore from inside the car - my view was normally blocked to see where she was standing. But that day, she actually bent down so low that she almost touched the floor, just so as she could see me leaving (and I could see her). She waved at me and smiled. She looked so sparkingly cheerful. At that time, I had that weird feeling again. Maybe because it was her last goodbye.
Earlier that day, it crossed my mind that maybe I should take leave the next Monday, just so that I could be with Mak a little longer, or at least so that I could bring her to the hospital (since that Sunday was such a short day). But I didn't go ahead with that plan. I didn't even mention it to anybody. If only I did, I might have make Mak really happy and appreciated (during her final days).
14th March (Monday) - 11:40am, it was the last time I made a call to her. When she picked it up, the first thing she told me was "Mak kena warded ni. Tak dapat pergi Umrah." (I had to be warded..I won't be going for Umrah). When I reacted all panicky, then she laughed "Eh, Mak gurau aja ni. Mak tarik balik. Mak pergi Umrah..." (I was only kidding. I do want to go for Umrah).Turned out Mak wasn't kidding.
Mak said the doctor's result showed that she was fine, except that this time, it also indicated that she had a tiroid, which was new (as she didn't have that before). The doctor gave her some medication, plenty enough for her to bring some supplies for Umrah. At that time, she sounded so happy, so I asked her why. She told me, she was at Tok Cik's house, talking about the preparations for Tok Cik's big day. She said she was excited for she'd be getting a new aunt.
During that one month period when she had no appetitie, she once cried to me over the phone, saying that if anything were to happen, she hoped she could at least witness these 2 things: Umrah with Ikhwan and seeing Tok Chik remarried again. I remember at the time when she was crying, all of a sudden, the line got cut off, and I had difficulty calling back. When I did manage to call back, the moment was gone. She was already calm. I explained to her what happened and told her "Ok ya Mak, tak ada apa-apa lah Mak." (you have nothing to worry about). At that time, I was still thinking Mak's condition was temporary, Mak was going to be OK, Mak was going to live much longer... I was a fool (for thinking like that and for not seeing the signs). Those were the exact two things that Mak didn't get to see and experience....
After work that monday, I wanted to pay RM 500 for my credit card bill. But the ATM machine at the place that I went to, didn't have cash deposit service. So, the RM 500, along with some Ringgit bills remained in my wallet.
I then walked into a bookstore. A book grabbed my attention. The title "Doa-doa Untuk Ibu Bapa" (Prayers to Recite for Your Parents). Initially, I did not realise that the title was actually "...Untuk Arwah Ibu Bapa" (...For Your Deceased Parents), since the font for the word 'Arwah' was smaller than the rest. I decided to buy the book nonetheless, thinking that Mak could use it, to pray for her deceased parents. Little did I know, that the book is actually for me to use instead.
15th March (Tuesday) - 1:00am, I received a call from Kaklong. She told me that Mak had been hospitalised. Ayah said, Mak had difficulty breathing and her blood pressure had dropped. Kaklong and I planned to leave after Subuh the next day. But wife said, with Mak's blood pressure dropped, that could mean serious. So, she called up Muar Hospital and talked to the doctor in charge. After hanging up, she advised us to drive home immediately. We trusted her coz she knew better. So, we convoyed together, driving back to Muar.
We reached the hospital after 4am. Mak was awake, with her breathing mask on. All four of us (me, wife, kaklong and brother in law) managed to see her and talked to her a little bit. When we went for Subuh prayer, wife told us that Mak's heart responded well to the medication. We were relieved to hear that. But she then added, the first 48 hours after any heart patient was admitted was crucial, and anything could happen. Something did happen. We were called back to the hospital. Mak had a major attack during Subuh time.
Mak was pronounced dead at 10:55am, although I had a feeling, she might have left us before that official time.
In the past, Mak mentioned that if given a choice, she would rather not to be bed ridden for so long, so as not to trouble her children and children in laws.
She was only warded for about 12 hours or so... Mak, if given a choice, I wouldn't mind taking care of you at all, even if it meant quitting my job.
I helped in the process of bathing her. When the lady poured water on her lifeless face, my heart was saying "Mak, janganlah tinggalkan Nizar Mak. Bangunlah balik Mak. Orang tu jirus air kat muka Mak tu. Bangunlah Mak." (Mak, don't leave me behind. Wake up Mak. That person is pouring water onto your face, so please wake up).
The total costs charged by the Hospital for Mak's funeral arrangement: mandi, kafan + keranda (bathe, kafan + coffin) was RM 500. I had the exact amount. The RM 500 was still in my wallet. I still had not used a Ringgit of it.
25th March 2011 was the day that I went for Umrah with my wife, Ikhwan and Ayah. Mak was so eager to go there with Ikhwan that time around. But Allah had a different plan for her. She was called upon to meet The Almighty, before she could experience all that.
Ikhwan 'performed' one complete Umrah on the night we arrived in Mekah, although he did that while he was unconsious (sleeping) and he was pushed on a wheel chair.
One afternoon, Ikhwan managed to follow his Mum, making one complete round of Tawaf.
In total, Ikhwan made 4 trips between Safa and Marwah for Sai'.
Ayah and I managed to bring Ikhwan to Raudhah, Alhamdulillah. Look at the way he posed here Mak.
On the final day when we were in Madinah, Ikhwan was so playful outside our hotel room. His laughter and boisterous voice had caused occupants from other rooms to come out and 'play' with him. You would have been entertained by him too...
Twice, I cried so hard while in Masjidil Haram. One time, at Marwah, after completing my Sai'. The other, after the call for Subuh prayer, in front of Kaa'bah. It was the final Subuh in Mekah for me.
The images of you kept playing in my head. You, wearing that favourite blue robe. You, waving goodbye to me on that Sunday evening. Witnessing your suffering that Tuesday morning, struggling for air. The images of you after you had that major attack.
I was too overwhelmed by my feelings. Although I managed to compose myself after a while, my tear glands couldn't seem to stop. Tears just kept running down on my cheeks, hard and continous, that before I managed to wipe away a tear on one cheek, another (tear) already dropped from the other (cheek).
I always feel that I don't have that many friends but that never seemed to matter to me before, because at the end of the day, I knew that....I had you, you were there for me to turn to. Even by just hearing your voice, you just took my troubles away.... But now..you're gone Mak......
Not that long ago, I decided to assign different ringtones to different names (those whom I always call). For Mak's number, I chose the song Come Home by One Republic. The reason for the song was because, I knew that Mak would always eagerly await for me to come home, to see me again whether at her home, or my home, or kaklong's home.
The number is still in my phone, with the same ringtone. Except that now, the song has a different meaning. Now, I wish I could see you again Mak, to hear your voice, to be comforted by you, to hug you and kiss your cheeks and hands again, even if it's only in a dream. Now, it's more apt to say, Mak is never coming back Home again.
Rashidah Abd. Hamid
Born: 3rd of June 1939
Date and Time of Death: 15th March 2011 (10 Rabiul Akhir 1432H) at 10:55am
Place of Death: Ward no. 16, CRW1, CCU, Sultanah Fatimah Specialist Hospital Muar
Place of burial: In front of parent’s house at Parit Besar, Jalan Temenggong Ahmad, Muar Johor
The above was her last ever photo. She no longer needed spectacles after having her eye surgeries done. She took the photo to renew her passport for her planned Umrah trip with her grandson.... that never happened.
This is Ikhwan's first ever video when he was only 2 months' old. Other than Ikhwan's shrieking voice towards the end of the video, it only has Mak's voice throughout. The video is also on YouTube.
My blog tagline says 'one half completing the other half'. The thing is, I feel that, that other half (which is me) is no longer complete ..
P/S: I decided not (yet) to elaborate, the chronological events that happened on the day that Mak passed away, and the days that follow... Maybe one day I will...
© Copyright Abdun Nizar Ahmad