Alhamdulillah...I completed my first day of fasting without a hitch, considering I completely terlupa makan sahur.Because I hardly know any Malaysian or Muslim around the area I live,my puasa timetable is based on 'agak-agak'.I printed out a copy of the schedule for fasting from 'Ramadhan in UK' website and I find it very misleading as they have put the star mark on the 23rd.So, don't know if the puasa really should begin either on Saturday or Sunday.In the end,I'm back to the practical mathematic,where I start puasa on the first day of Ramadhan, which is yesterday, Sunday the 24th.
For me, it is specially difficult to puasa on Sunday, the day you tak kerja because banyak betul urge nak makan the 'bodoh-bodoh' things that during the day you tak puasa,tak nampak depan mata.So, half of the day yesterday, dihabiskan dengan berbaring-baringan saja.
I got up just nice at 6.30pm, and started to prepare maggie goreng.Yeah, my 1st day breaking fast meal is Maggie Goreng, Walkers Crisp Prawn Cocktail flavour,Cadbury Chocolate Cake and a mug of Peppermint Tea. I tried very hard not to imagine what happen in my family's house in Malaysia, in terms of what they have on their table at Maghrib's time.The thought of them eating Popia Basah enough to make me homicidal.
Disebabkan sehari tak makan..(but funny thing happened though, because dalam tak makan tu, perut asyik sakit nak cik yak aje..and then, I pon cik yak..bertambah kosonglah perut) right after berbuka, I terus tertidur.Tau tau, terbangun pukul 2 pagi...dengan keadaan air mata yang berlinang-linang.Kenapa ye?
10 years ago, at the beginning of Ramadhan, I sat down with my brothers and sisters, planning and delegating responsibility for Hari Raya.I remember vividly that it was so fun and we were laughing a lot.We honestly thought that maybe it is now wise to take charge of being incharge for Hari Raya, and to lessen the burden of our mother who have always took charge of everything until she lose sight of herself (dramatic lah pulak) All for of us decide how many kuih,small change and dishes we should serve people during raya and who will be responsible for it.After 1/2 hour of brainstorming,we got one responsibility each.And that's that.
A week after that,I called home and spoke to my youngest sister. I told her that I'll be coming back for the weekend I (as the following Monday was a Thaipusam Day) and as usual I asked after my mother. Frankly,I wasn't all whole hearted to come back as I hate to drive along Seremban KL Highway during the long weekend.My sister told me that my mother is in the hospital looking after my brother who was taken ill.
** Notes, my ill brother, 19years old who is a football player, schoold athletes and many more.Taken ill and hospitalised? What kind of demam that masuk hospital, especially for a strong young man like him? Musykil...musykil..
The conversation was normal and I end it at that,but something strange telling me that I must go to the hospital.On saturday morning, 3rd February 1996,I drove back home and decided that instead of go home straight, I should go to the hospital first,to see my mother and my brother.I arrived in the ward and saw my brother lying in his hospital bed and my mother is nowhere to be seen.I approached the bed and accosted him.I thought he is going to be surprised seeing me.He is much to weak to notice.I call him again..and again.The only thing he muttered was 'uh..uh..'
My back shoulder was pat gently.It's my mother.She ask when did I arrived and I said, just now.She went, I have to tell you something, let's go over there.I don't want him to hear.I nodded.We adjourned to one corner.She told me what doctor had told her and asked me to see this Ustaz to do something.She also told me that she spent all night crying.I was shocked.I left straight away.I have got to see this Ustaz.I ran downstairs to the car park. I get into my car...and I cried.I don't know why.
I went to see Ustaz.I told him exactly the message from my mother.The Ustaz looks so calm.The only thing that the Ustaz said is 'Tell your mother, not to worry.If godwill,he will be okay.But don't ever let them take anything from his backbone.'
I delivered the message and I went home.I don't talk to anyone in case that they will ask me about my brother.In my heart, I keep feeling that something will happen and it is not pleasant.
Cut the long story short, my father got so fed up with the hospital and transfer my brother to SJMC on Monday morning, the 5th.The Thaipusam day.I was pleased thinking that since I lived closer to SJMC, I can visit him whenever.So,on Monday midday, I drove back to Subang.I decided to call at SJMC first to see how everyone is doing.I went to my brother's ward and my mother and 2 sisters was there.I look at my brother and he looks very pale.I tried talking to him.No answer.My mother smiles and said to me, he asked after you since Saturday.Read him the yassin.I did.When I finished, my mother told me that this morning, the doctor in SJMC finally diagnosed him with Leukemia and he only have 4 days to live.I don't know what else to say.I asked my mother if it's okay if I go home for a bit to freshen up and will be back later.I also tell her that I'll leave my car in case my sisters need it.I asked one of my sisters to drop me off and come and pick me up later.In my own room, I cried and cried.I was too shy to cry in the presence of many people and somehow,in my own confine space,it feels very comfortable.After 10 minutes, my housemate knocked my door and said someone looking for me.It's my sister and I packed my bag again.This time,very strangely, I packed my baju kurung and tudung.She drive me back to SJMC and we didn't speak.We arrived in the hospital and got cornered by one of my eldest cousin.Pep talk.Like there's no other time.When the talk finished, we went to the elevator and bump into another cousin.His face look different.He told his brother (my eldest cousin) that he was asked to look for me and my sister.We asked him why.He was very hesitant to say anything.The elevator room opened.There was my father,crying and stopping us to go any further than that.While he was with my sister, I escaped and walked into the ward.I saw my mother looking at my brother while the hospital people 'rearranged' his position.One of my aunt said 'what are you doing here' and 'don't look' in flood of tears. I walked away.I was hugged by my crying cousins.I still don't have a clue.Then came my sister (another one,the one that stayed with my brother) She was crying too.She keep saying, it's only me and mother at that time.I asked,what..what you on about? She asked me back, you don't know? I, don't know what?? My sister, he's gone. It was only me and mother at that time.
My brother, passed away on the 15th of Ramadhan, 1996.This morning, I woken up with tears on my face.Just like many years ago, there's a time where I suddenly thought of him and feel incredibly sad.Thinking of how he was claimed at that very young age.I can feel that he is visiting.I have his photo in my bedroom, his handsome looking IC photo that I enlarged and framed.Along with his belt that I kept.I used to wear his belt,but stopped as I fear of exhausting it.
I don't know how the others deal with their grief but for sure, we never talk about him in past tense.He is very much alive with us,just not visible.After his funeral, my father advised us not to talk about his condition (the all-of-a-sudden leukemia) as it might make us question Allah's fate. During one of his tahlil, I heard my mother told her best friend, 'When I was looking after him in the hospital, I prayed to Allah, this is my son, he is not well.If he meant to be with me, please cure him, Ya Allah...but if you love him more than I do, please take him with you'.And Allah did.He took my brother in his arms 10 years ago.My mother never knew that I heard that conversation and I, secretly admire her for that incredible strength.Losing child is enough to test someone's faith in anything.
There's still lots of anger and grief in me and I'm hoping to deal with it in my self search therapy.My brother is a fine young man who is too soft hearted to realised that he was ill treated by some man masked monsters. My nieces and nephew who never met him, address him as 'Uncle' everytime they visit his grave. One of my sister can never bring herself to go to his grave after the funeral. My brother in law (who dated and married my sister years after his death, cried everytime he visit his grave.
I still miss him dearly.Every Ramadhan.It is true when people say, during Ramadhan, the departed soul will visit the love ones.I believe that for the last 10 years, he have been visiting me. I wished him Happy Birthday on his birthdays and whenever I miss him, I look at his photo and tell him that I love him. When my father is unwell, I looked at him and told him, Abah's not well.He misses you.Please do something...pray for him. I think he did pray for him. My father is okay eventhough he is feeling his age.
My beautiful brother is in the safest place now.May he rest in peace. Al-Fatihah.