Monday, 26 November 2007

he lives on in our hearts

Mohammad Shah bin Halijah 13th.November, 1941 - 21st.November, 2007. Al-Fatehah

if you read my last post here, you might want to know if i made it in time. i did. i was finally at the hospital at 3:00pm on that 21st.November, 2007. had to ask my back door neighbour to take care of that &*^*$#*)%#)(* washing machine.

it wasn't a pretty sight. more tubes and wires and instruments of all sorts were to connected to him. he was no longer breathing on his own. tucked in at the corner of his mouth was what it seems to be painfully attached was the breathing instrument that was supposed to supply oxygen directly into his lungs. and i don't even know what it's called up to now.

at around 5:00pm, i received a sobbing phone call from wifey asking me to go upstairs into the icu waiting area, adamantly refusing to elaborate further while i was having my nicotine fix in the car park. when i got upstairs, i saw everybody, including my calm and collected mum sobbing uncontrollably.

my eldest brother asked me to go and see him once more before delicately explained to me that the neurosurgeon had given us three options. the second ct scan had confirmed that his brain had been eerily damaged beyond recovery due to the massive second stroke attack. the first option is to bombard him with full armaments of antibiotics and drugs while the second option is to let him go through another surgery and leave his skull open to ease off the burgeoning pressure brought about by the second attack on his right brain, even suffocating the left side which was operated on sunday morning. while there was no telling that he could survive both options, the doctor had reconfirmed that he would be unable to care for himself if he survived the ordeal, given how much damage that had been inflicted on the brain by the second massive attack.

the third option was a much simpler alternative. bring him home.

while the initial reactions to this option were outright rejections, especially from my mother and sisters, we collectively decided to bring him home when calmness reigned over chaos. my father had told my mum that he wanted to die on my mum's lap during the eid period last month and she took it as a sign as his final request to be brought home.

so, at 7pm, more than half of the family packed up our belongings that had accumulated over the 7-day period in the hospital to prepare the house which has been left at its own device for his homecoming, leaving my mum, my eldest brother, my youngest sister and my parents' eldest granddaughter at the hospital to accompany him. we waited, and waited, and waited at home.

it was around 10:20pm when one of my sisters burst out of the room at home, crying out loud saying that my father had passed away. few minutes later, i received a phone call from my brother-in-law on the house phone reconfirming the news. they had waited for the surgeon to come over before transferring him to the ambulance. he had passed away while still on the machine when the drugs supporting his heart was disconnected, possibly the only reason why his heart was still beating due in the absence of the devastated brain cells. while my mum was on his bedside all the time, he did not have his wish to draw his last breath on my mum's lap.

the body only arrived home at around 1:00am after all the formalities and documentations had been cleared. and we took turn throughout the night to recite our doa and yaasin.

so many people came over the next day to pay him the last visit that people had to walk up to a mile to find a parking space around my parents'. the sight of him lying there in his white kaffan brought down many mighty men, not to mention women, to tears. except for those occasional crocodile tears welling up in the eyes, i could not even remember any event that had occurred in my life i had cried over. on that day and thereafter, i cried with no shame. he had definitely touched many, if not all, hearts of the people whom has had the pleasure of meeting and knowing him. and he had the opportunity to have 2 of the most community-oriented jobs, a teacher, retiring 11 years ago and was still a serving imam of the local masjid.

seeing him lying motionless in the living room could have easily been mistaken as being in a deep slumber, the bathing time was a real revelation to me of his true state like a huge smack in the face. the sight of unchanged expression on the face when water was poured over the face will be something that is going be imprinted in my mind for many years to come.

he was safely buried at 12:45pm on thursday 22nd.november, 2007 before the dzhuhr' prayer.

he has had a full life. god-willing, to the naked eye, he has also enough preparation for the afterlife. he was such a loving husband to my mum, still holding her hands affectionately even after more than 40 years of marriage and his fatherly traits had simply dwarfed my puny attempt to be one myself. all he had left us were fond memories, blemished by one memory of me showing my displeasure towards him on one minuscule event at my house barely 3 weeks ago of which i sincerely hoped that i have been forgiven.

life has to go on, they say. but at this point of time, my life seems to be dragging its feet lazily, especially when i think about the life that my mum has to go through sans my father. how i wish she has the support of wonderful people around her like what i am receiving now from the others. which reminds me to thank all of you beautiful people for all those well-wishes, comments, phone calls and text messages.

Inna-lillahi wa inna ilaihi ro ji'un. Al-Fatehah.

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