Continued from Mak 2.0
Mak, I miss you so. I long to touch you. I miss your warmth, your caring voice, your special touch, your superb dishes, your deep concern and sacrifices for all your kids. This year marks nine years since you left us. Time sure flies as I just couldn't believe that you had left us nine years ago.
It felt like it was just yesterday that I could hear your sweet voice calling us children to the dining table to partake the delicious food you had cooked for us.
Mak, I recalled how every single one of your eight kittos would surround the table to savour the simple, yet delicious food that you lovingly prepared for us. Among your wonderful dishes were beef steak, telor masak kicap, nasi tomato (ummm...yummy), nasi ikan, dalca, daging goreng, sanggul mak inang, gula tarik (now that explains why both you and dad and most of your kids suffer from diabetes....hmmmm), pudding, caramel, gulai ikan kering, kari kepala ikan, etc.
And I still remembered how you would hover at the table and not sit down to join us for meals as you would always put us kids and ayah before you. You always wanted to make sure that we were fed well before you eat. And you always ended up eating alone, long after everyone had left the dining table.
Mak, you were a truly selfless person. Mak, we would come across a few great people in our time on earth. And you were one of them. You were like a conductor holding court in a symphony of laughter and smiles.
I regretted not doing more with you mak, because I thought you were going to be there for a long time.
And that is how we usually take each other for granted. I have many things left unsaid and unsettled. And I always thought that one day we would be able to look back and reminisce the things we did together.
Alas, that was not to be so. Two days after I delivered my youngest baby, Khairi, on 17 November 1993, you had a heart attack. And since then, for the next 7 years you were in and out of hospital. You were bed ridden for several years. Once you were bed ridden you were a pale shadow of your old self.
But your love for all your children and ayah never once wavered. I recalled visiting you at Subang Jaya Hospital when you went into coma. And all your children and children in law were in the hospital room too.
You had been in coma for a couple of weeks. And Abang G (my 2nd brother) had, in jest, whispered in your ears (but loud enough for everyone present to hear), "Mak, you only loved G, isn't it?".
And miracles of all miracles, you shocked everyone present by responding (but it sounded more like a retort to my ears), "NO! I love all my children!" Imagine, you had been in a coma, and you had responded clearly and audibly when it mattered most to you, something which was dear to your heart, i.e, your children.
Everyone burst out laughing, but, soon after that sweet retort, you lapsed back into coma. In August 2000, you went into coma again, and never recovered.
I recalled the day we lost you. It was so vivid. It was as though it happened yesterday.
From the period 15 August till we lost you, I spent the nights with you at the hospital as I reckoned your time was near. All your four girls took turn to take care of you at the hospital. Despite being in a comatose state, you kept moving your legs, which I suspected was causing you pain.
In fact, your right foot and shin were turning black, a sure sign that gangrene had set in. The doctors had told us that there was nothing else they could do, and if we had wanted, we could take you back home (to Ocah's house). And Ocah had made arrangements for a nurse to take care of you once you went back home.
As the saying goes, we human beings can plan, but God decides. Your gangrene became worse and the doctor told us in no uncertain terms that they had no choice but to amputate your legs on 23 August 2000. Alas, God is mighty. Before you lose your limb to the knife, God took you back.
Mak, just as when you were alive, you never wanted to inconvenience your kids. You "chose" to leave us in the hospital so as not to inconvenience any of your kids.
The week that you passed away, I was very busy as I was the Chairman of my company's Annual Dinner Committee. And that morning, I had gone to Mont Kiara to rent costumes for the function.
Despite being busy, a terrible foreboding filled me and my stomach churned. As I was walking toward the costume rental shop with the rest of the Committee members, my phone rang. It was Kirah (your youngest daughter) who called me to say that your condition had taken a turn for the worse. You were in critical condition. Without hesitation, I left my friends. As I hailed a cab, a wave of acute pain crossed my face as I knew deep in my heart that your time was near.
For some strange reason, the taxi that I took was old, so was the taxi driver. In fact, the man was no driver. The whole drive from Mont Kiara to SJMC had consisted of non-stop jerks and jolts as the old man, his hand tightly gripping the steering wheel, had crunched the gears and continuously lifted his foot on and off the accelerator, causing the rusting taxi to rev up and slow down, engine screaming in protest.
I had been too scared to do more than clutch the door handle and keep my eyes fixed firmly ahead. willing the journey to come to an end.
As soon as the taxi stopped, I scrambled out. And I had never been so glad in my life to reach a journey's end.
My heart was beating so fast, and I was getting very impatient. I
prayed fervently to God that I could make it to youur room before it
was too late. Upon reaching the room, some of my siblings were already there, whilst we waited for the rest to arrive. I was later told that your heart had stopped beating earlier but the doctor managed to revive it temporarily.
We were thankful to Allah for giving us this grace period, for giving us this precious time to be with you. We could see that you were hooked on the life support machine but once the machine was removed, your breathing became weaker.
I would always remember 23 August 2000. I could vividly recall the pulse meter that was placed next to your bed. At that time, it looked like a death sentence meter or a countdown meter, to put it more aptly.
Except for Kak Pah and Noraihan, all your 7 kids and grand children were in your room when you breathed your last breath.
I'm sure till today, Kak Pah would always regret the day she decided to go back to her house in JB. She had been lovingly taking care of you for 2 weeks. And just as she thought she needed a break, you left us, without Kak Pah having had chance to bid goodbye to you.
I recalled all your kids hovering around you until you breathed your last breath. Although it was difficult for us to let you go, but we knew that your time was up. Even though you had been suffering a long illness, and we thought we were prepared for it to happen, the impact of your passing away is still very painful and the blow when you died was severe. In fact your loss was almost unbearable.