BOH

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Sometimes, I dial my abah’s old number just so I could see this pic pops up on my phone screen. The person I miss the most. The first selfie I took with him, and the last too. My late abah hated taking pictures. He rarely smiled. He was actually grumpy when I wanted to take this, but I told him ‘you must smile’ and he did. And who would have thought, it has now become a very precious photo. I didn’t have a copy of this pic, I couldn’t find it anywhere except for when I dial his number.

My smiling, grumpy abah. My world. It pains me so much. So much. More than I can ever put in words. My chest hurts because I miss extremely miss him. His voice. His laughter. Even his scoldings become a painfully wonderful memory now.

These days, I don’t really expect much out of myself. I’m just trying to survive.

Boh, when you were still alive, I didn’t even buy you anything. Not a pair of shoes, not a single clothing. When I paid for your lunch, you questioned from where did I get the money because I was still studying. Up to the very last month you were still breathing, you were still very worried of me–of whether I had enough money for food, my study, my health. Boh, you wore an old pair of slippers and a very simple tee most of the time. You lived your life always worrying about us. You never allow us to starve. You provided us very well, boh. You worked hard for your family. I am, forever, indebted to you. You boasted about you job, and I really hate it when you did. But you told me, it was to remind you to feel strong. You came from a humble beginning, boh. You went through so much since you were little to get to where you were. And one thing I would always remember is when you said you worked very hard your entire life so your kids won’t have to suffer. You worked very hard so your kids won’t have to starve the way you did. You cried under a tree watching your friends ate their food when you were in primary. You were hungry but you didn’t have money for food. You didn’t have ,money for school books so you stayed up the whole night copying your friend’s. You suffered so much, boh, but you made it. And I am proud of you. And I truly miss you and your wisdom, boh. You were my best friend, and we were so close. And I hope we will see each other again in a better place.

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RAINY DAY

It’s raining right now. It’s the rainy season in Penang. Days become cold and gloomy. The sky a constant grey. This brings back my memory from when I was 9.

It was a rainy evening. My little sister who was 8 and I had school till late evening. I remember feeling so worried in class. When it rains, how could my sister and I walk to our school bus later? It was a heavy one, and we would be soaked. The bell rang, it was time to go home. My class was on the third floor and my sister on the second’s. I waited for her at the staircase and we went down together with hundreds of our peers. I was still worried.

And then I saw her, amongst the crowd of committed parents waiting for their kids with umbrella right in front of the staircase at the ground level, stood my beautiful, amazing mother. I was so relieved.

My mom, did not want us to get wet, carried us one by one in her arms. The rain was so heavy, it was ankle deep for her. Her shoes and clothes were soaked, but it didn’t matter, as long as we stay dry. I remember feeling so happy. My mom, carried me and put me down at the canteen. All three of us then walked to the other side, and if I’m not mistaken, she brought us one by one under her umbrella to our car, where my dad was waiting.

It was very rare, to have our abah pick us up from school. Abah was always busy, working his bones off to feed our big family. But that evening, both my parents were there.

This is one of the many fond memories I have growing up. I didn’t want to relive my childhood, it wasn’t amazing at all. But some fragments involving my parents, I keep very close to my heart.

I finished watching Reply 1988; a series with family, friendship, love and life values all together instilled in its 20 long episodes. I can’t help but cry so much today, feeling a very close connection to the story. And I can’t help but to cry for my parents.

Parents.. the moment their first child is born; their energy, their money, their time, their sacrifices–all devoted to their kids. They become selfless. They want us to be happy and healthy and if they could, they would trade places each time the kid gets sick. Parents are our ultimate blessings in this life. Their wrinkles tell stories of their hard work. Their deep, swollen eyes tell memories on their struggles. Their children’s well-beings become their priorities. They forget about their dreams as long as their children can live well. They might not have much but they wouldn’t hesitate a bit to give whatever they have. It must have been very painful, but for a parent, for the sake of their child, they can even move mountains.

My heart breaks a million pieces thinking about this. Oh how I miss my parents right now. How I miss my late abah. I tell my parents all the time I love them, I desperately hope they feel it in their hearts.. that they’re truly loved by me, and they are such rare gems, and there’s nothing more that I want in this life than for my parents, wherever they might be at this very moment, to be happy. 

I regret growing up with so much hatred inside me. I regret growing up talking back. I regret those times I wasted being an ungrateful child. I regret the moments I hurt my parents with my words and actions. I regret them all.

But I don’t want to live like that anymore. My goals for 2018 are to work hard, pay my loans and spoil my parents. I would like to keep it as that, and I would try my best to reach them all, InsyaAllah.

One rainy evening seventeen years ago, I realised there was nothing that could beat our parents’ unconditional love for us. It was a very simple thing, but for a 9 year old me, that was truly wonderful. My parents picked me up from school. My mom carried me  and my sister with our heavy school bag. My mom was (and still is) amazing.

Signing off, on a rainy evening seventeen years later, a lonely soul missing my parents, with swollen eyes from crying too much. Boh, I hope you’re doing great over there. Someday we will meet again. Ma, you are, and always will be, the one I love and want to cherish forever. You are so, so strong Mama. I couldn’t even be 10% of what you are. Thank you, I love you and I’m sorry.

‘When are you going back to school, Kiah?’ my dad asked.

School? I’m in a university now, Boh. Not in school anymore.’

‘Oh yes. I forget. You have grown up now, Kiah. How time flies. I always feel like you are still a little kid.‘ He said with a smile on his face, but a sad tone in his voice.

And before I even finished my master, he passed away. Someday, Boh. Someday we will all meet again, in a better place InsyaAllah.

TWENTY SEVENTEEN

You were such a tough, horrid year. You weren’t very kind right from the very beginning. Let’s recap a bit. I started 2017 with an infection which was extremely terrible. My morale was so down. I was also freaking out for thesis submission. I didn’t have enough money and I kept burdening my parents and Oniechan. My dad was in the hospital for heart issues. Life wasn’t exactly bad but it wasn’t fine either.

I submitted my thesis in april knowing viva would suck because no last minute, rushed work can fully survive on such a grand scale. In May, I went to shell’s fuel launch held in a prestigious hotel which I don’t think I would ever step in and I was so happy. Also in may, I lost my darling aboh. He collapsed right infront of me–before I could even say ‘I’m here, boh’. It was the most surreal thing, witnessing the passing of your beloved; the darkest day. It wasn’t so painful the night it happened, but right after you were buried boh, I’ve lost count on the nights (and afternoons) I cry myself to sleep (still do).

In june, we celebrated our first raya without you. It was simpler fasting this year because you were the fussy one, but it wasn’t nice boh. House was crowded but my heart was empty. In july I had my viva. It was horrid and I didn’t want to talk about it anymore. Nothing significant happens since. Life was monotonous. (Except for the reunion I had with my best friends, that felt amazing too. And oh, the epic field trip. It was legit fun as well.)

Before this, I experience occasional sadness. A feeling rarely visiting because in general, I’m an okay person. I don’t always feel extremely happy nor sad, I was normal. But these days.. these days I laugh louder than usual when I get the chance. I talk more when I feel like it. I eat plenty when the appetite is there. Because now, these are the rares. Happiness becomes occasional. Gloomy weather makes me gloomier. Even when the skies are clear and blue, I can be sad. Even when I’m in a crowd, actively participating, my thoughts go out to the days when I still had my father.

I do not know when this phase will pass. Hopefully soon. But for as long as it’s here, I will learn to live with the scar. I don’t know how to mend myself, and I don’t think anyone can mend me either. I shuh people away for forcing. Time heals I’m sure, but times needs time, and I’ll be okay.

Only a parent knows how it feels like to bring a child into this world. Only a mother can fully understand the birth pain. But even then, our pain is specific. The depth varies.  And only those who have lost their loved ones know how it feels. It’s like a dream, one you wish to get out from. One you thought to yourself would be over once you open your eyes.

But it didn’t happen that way, it won’t.

I know it too well that life is temporary and it is only this meaningful because it has an end, and everyone will eventually leave one day. I know that no matter how much we love something or someone, nothing stays forever. One day, I will go too. But sadly, despite knowing and reading the Quran on how dunya is only like a blink of an eye, and how the hereafter is where we’re all heading to, I would also like to say that it would still be painful. Even our beloved Prophet SAW was in despair on the passing of his beloved Khadija r.a. It is indeed okay to feel sad, and insyaAllah, with prayers and hope, the rain will feel like the rain you missed, not something that makes you gloomy.

Ya Rabb, showers upon my father your blessings, forgiveness, rahmah and protections. Increase his rank, ya Rabb. Place him amongst those You love. Showers upon my mother the same too. And with your guidance ya Rabb, with your mercy, I pray I will be reunited with my parents (and moksu, too!) in a better place someday. Protect my loved ones, protect me. Ameen.

ps: And boh, your son in law graduated his Phd!

FROM SIX YEARS AGO

So this is the memory FB think I would like to remember..

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Who would have thought, six years later I had to witness my dad taking his last breath. I was there, I was there when he collapsed on his hospital bed. I arrived with the medicated oil he requested over the phone just 30 minutes ago. He closed his eyes the moment I entered his room, and he never opens them again. I wiped the sweats on his forehead, I called out his name many, many times. I just wanted him to look at me one last time. I just wanted him to know I was there, I brought his oil, why isn’t he responding anymore.

God.

And FB memory always comes up with all the conversations I had with aboh which I put as my statuses, there are many of them. It makes me miss him more, but it also brings a sense of comfort knowing when my dad was alive, I did take note of the things he’s said and done. We made a lot of phone calls to each other. I always hug him when I’m home. I always end the calls with I love youuu and would demand an ‘I love you too’ before he hangs up. I gave kisses on his cheeks three times every time I had to leave home again, and he counted them.

Today one kiss only? Usually three?’, and I would laugh before giving two more.

I couldn’t even look at jackfruit these days, because that was the fruit my dad always bought for me.

I bought your favourite fruit! In the fridge!,‘ and there were two packs of nangka.

‘I bought your favourite kuih!,’ and there were penerams on the table.

Kiah, for your birthday let’s go to chicken rice. I want to treat you nasi ayam this year!,’ and we went to TCRS in Aeon Big.

And every time I see durian crepe, I’d stare at it before walking away, not buying. Durian crepe (specifically at KLCC there, near Maybank) was his fav.

My dad was very garang, and I love him very, very much. See you on the other side, Boh!

#3

Alangkah bagus jika kau boleh ambil hati aku,

pegang, sapu, dan pulangkan kembali.

Ada rindu yang takkan mati, membakar terus.

Akhirnya,

aku terbakar sama, atau menjadi abu,

yang akhirnya senyap malap.

Ada kasih yang tak terbagi,

sunyi.

Aku tidak lagi dapat bicara dengan orang paling aku kasih.

Cerita2 aku tertapis dilapisan tanah2 sedalam tujuh kaki nun didalam bumi.

Aku merindui semuanya,

dan sungguh,

sunyi rupanya tidak bergaduh kita..

Aku mahu kau ambil hati aku,

dan sapu.

Setiap debu2 yang menebal,

yang menghalang aku untuk merindu tanpa perlu melingkup jatuh dan sembunyi.

Tapi,

apa benar akan kau sudi?

Seingat aku dari balam memori semalam.

kau juga telah pergi.