In the course of one week, I face the death of two very dear persons to me, a family member and a respectable collegue. One was expected, another came as a shock.
Last week on May 20th 2009, i lost my grandmother. She was diabetic for quite a long time and towards the end, the kidney even failed to function. As much as we hate it, we were actually counting the days when she would leave us, because she didn’t seem to get any better even though much has been done. My grandfather checked her blood pressure and sugar level i think almost on half-an-hour basis everyday, to ensure they maintain stable and in control. She wouldn’t eat because she simply didn’t have the appetite left, but we had to push her to eat, we forced water into the mouth and things like that, to make sure her sugar level remain at the desired number. But i guess her time was getting nearer because nothing works in the end. I had no idea she was admitted to the hospital, perhaps in her critical condition, until my mum called me on Tuesday and said that the doctor had advised the family to take her home because there was simply nothing they could do anymore.
I left in a haste, stopping by in Bentong that night at my sister’s house for a night sleep, then proceed to Kuantan the next morning to see her. When we arrived (me and my two sisters and one brother), my grandmother (we called her Mek) was still awake. But i doubt she recognized any of us. She couldn’t utter a single word, all she did was moan every now and then, and refused every drop of water we forced into her mouth. Afterwards,, she seemed to be better and calmer, no more moaning, she just slept throughout the afternoon. We thought she was fine.
So my whole family decided to go back to Bentong to drop my sister (she was due to give birth anytime then), before my parents proceed to Shah Alam. They planned to go back to work the next day, and then came back to Kuantan perhaps Friday evening. But 20 minutes after we reached Bentong, we got words that Mek had passed away. For a while we were speechless. My mum must have been devastated, but she was quiet, and all of us seemed at loss as to what we should say to console her. We were all quiet.
Then my parents went back to Kuantan right after dinner, and had instructed me to stay in Bentong and picked up my youngest brother at school on the way to Kuantan the next day. I left Bentong at 6.45 on Wednesday, with my other brother, drove with the speed 120 – 140kmj, and reached Jerantut around 8.00am. My brother was in the class, sitting his mid-year exam when we arrived and cried when we informed him the news. We rushed to Kuantan (i sped, 140, 150 kmj i was afraid the tyre would get loose and fell off anytime but sped away anyway) and arrived just in time before the jenazah was bathed. My aunties and uncles, and even Ayoh (my grandfather) seemed calm despite the emotional environment, but i simply couldn’t stop crying.
I was not very close to my grandparents, not that they were not doting, we just were not good in expressing our affection to each other. We visited them a lot, especially when i was younger because we lived in Kuantan as well, only 15km away but we were just not that close. So i don’t think i cried because her loss leave an empty space in my heart, but i cried because i could feel the loneliness of Ayoh and my mum’s siblings, especially for Ayoh. They had been married for nearly 60 years, spending every day of their life together, and when Mek was sick, Ayoh was the one most of the times (of course the children who lived nearby helped a lot), but most of the time, it had always been just the two of them. She couldn’t see very well, so Ayoh read her the newspaper word by word. She wasn’t able to walk, or to even stand up properly, so Ayoh cooked for her, took her to the bathroom, changed her clothes, feed her. She wouldn’t want anybody else to feed her or to massage her when she’s uncomfortable, she only called for Ayoh. I once saw Ayoh fell asleep on the chair beside Mek’s bed, holding her hands. ( i never thought i’d see this kind of scene in real life, i thought it was all movie stuff kinds of things). so imagine doing that for the last many years and the routine suddenly stopped because the person you have been caring for is no longer there. I mean, the world is still spinning, nothing else has changed, but there appears an emptiness amongst it all. so I cried for him.
Later on the next Monday, i met up with Ila, who said that she was supposed to meet En.Lan, a senior officer at the office for a discussion and evaluation session. But she said that En.Lan was probably not feeling well because she saw some of our friends took him to the hospital. i think nothing of it then, because i knew, he was on medication for several reasons. i thought he was just not feeling well, and perhaps he’d be back in the office next wednesday. little did i know that he has been acting strange these past few days (according to my friends) because i was not in the office for 2 months already. it so happened that on Wednesday May 27th 2009, i left the handphone in the room for the afternoon class, and got the terrible news from another friend. She asked me right after class ended, in front of everyone:
“Aimi, sape eh En.Lan dot dot (nama dirahsiakan atas sebab-sebab tertentu)” – Azu
“En.Lan, TP dot dot…” – Aimi
“Kenapa?” – Aimi
“Die meninggal.” – Azu
And i was speechless. I hardly believed her. I repeated the names three times to make sure i heard her correctly. I simply couldn’t believe it. I mean, only two weeks ago i send words to Fye to relay a birthday wish to En.Lan, and now you’re telling me he’s passed away? Ila just talk to me about En.Lan just two days ago and now you’re telling me he’s gone? No way!!!!
So i rushed to the room to check my phone and there i had it, Fye send a simple messege that said : “en.lan dah meninggal”, apparently one hour after she told me en.lan was admitted to the ICU. I rushed to the hospital and upon reaching there, many of the bosses in the office, as well as all of his subordinates were there. They said that i could still go in and see him for, probably the last time. They said they his organs had also failed to function, and his breathing had gotten slower because they had taken off the life-support machine, and that his breath would probably stopped anytime then. But i didn’t have the heart to go, i mean the trauma of seeing my grandmother’s frozen body still lingered, and i was afraid if i see en.lan i might break down. But in the end i went, standing outside the door just to catch a last glimpse of him. And i felt a big loss.
You see, en.Lan was very, very, very dear to us. He was one of our favourite boss. He was respectable because he sure knows his stuff, and you can say to the extreme details, he was diplomatic enough in his approach to correct one’s fault, he was flexible, he has the biggest heart and was extremely generous, be it about money, knowledge, advice, anything. He was our confidant. We could ask him anything and he would attend to our inquiries with respect and honesty and open-mindedness. He distanced himself enough for us to regard him as our superior, but he was kind enough for us to treat him like a dear brother, or father. I am not good with words, but to sum it up, he was a good, respectable man and we all love him dearly.
I am not in the office currently, and i can’t imagine the impact of his death to my friends there. At least i had a gap of not seeing him for two months already and therefore, the sadness is bearable. But i don’t know how the people in the office handle it. I mean, they all pass through in front of his office everyday, sometimes more than 20 times a day (because his room is located on the main route), he joined us most of the times when we gather in a friend’s room next to his office, we saw him reading the newspaper in the room everyday etc etc. And suddenly the room is empty, not because the owner is on leave, but because he is gone forever.
I pray to Allah, that he will bless both my Grandmother and En.Lan because they have the biggest heart and had been such great persons. Al-Fatihah.