Sunday, September 21, 2008

Remembering Abah - Part II

L to R my sis Yati, Abah, my brother Tauffik & me

It was the year 1999, in the wake of the new millennium, when it all happened. I was at my sister’s house in Bandar Kinrara when Mom’s maid called. Her few distorted words had us wondering on what actually happened. The maid was Sumarah, a young plum girl from East Jawa. Gasping in between her breath, she said, “Bapak jatuh masa padam api kat masjid. Sekarang di rumah sakit.”

Huh? Jatuh? Padam api? Those where the questions playing in our minds. Did Abah have a heart attack? Yes we knew that he did have a mild problem with his blood pressure. But it was under control, at least that was what he told us.

Quickly, we organized the children and informed the maids on what they needed to do before we headed back to Seremban. My sister’s husband, Shah offered to drive us to Seremban Hospital that evening.

Abah proudly looking at his 1st grandchild, Faris who was only 3 months then

When we got to the hospital, we went straight to the ward where he was admitted. The moment we arrived, Mom was there and some of our neighbours were also with her. And there was Abah lying on the bed, looking helplessly and in so much pain. Ya Allah….what had happened? That was the immediate question running on my mind.

Abah with my two children, Faris & Farah

Mom looked concerned and we waited eagerly to speak to the doctor in-charged.

I asked Pak Cik Dolah, our immediate neighbour what exactly happened to Abah. He then recollected the incident he witnessed at the mosque a few hours ago. According to Pak Cik Dolah, Abah was trying to put off a small fire which had broken out in the compound of the mosque after Asar prayers. It was a dry day and the fire, which started near the slope of the mosque, was slowly spreading. When Abah was putting off the fire at the steep slope, he lost his balance and he fell almost 20 feet down. The other men found him at the bottom of the slope calling out in pain. The blow from the fall had damaged some of his nerves causing him to be paralyzed shoulder down. He couldn’t lift his hands and neither could he move his legs.

It was then I knew that the whole accident was more complicated than how Sumarah had described earlier in her phone call. We were positive when we first spoke to the doctors. The neurologist explained to us Abah’s actual condition. He said recovery would take a long time, provided there were no other complications. The concerned looks of my brother’s face confirmed my fear. Earlier on, he had a doctor-to-doctor talk with the neurologist, orthopedic surgeon and the physician. That night on our way back to KL, everyone kept silent. The only audible sound was our occasional sighs. We dragged having to leave Abah at the hospital but we somehow had to get back to make the necessary arrangements at our own home fronts. I promised Mom that I’d come back on the next day.

It wasn’t easy those days when Abah was hospitalized. From Seremban Hospital, he was transferred to HUKM, where my brother was attached to. Unfortunately, HUKM didn’t have the special bed needed to treat a patient with such casualty as Abah. He then was transferred again, to HKL this time.

Abah with his teaching colleagues

Abah’s condition was unpredictable. One day he was ok and the next he could be fighting for his live. I remember one afternoon at HKL when I was relieving Mom to take care of him, he suddenly went blue and was gasping for air. He couldn’t breathe. I told myself, if God were to take him at that time, I was prepared, redha dengan ketentuan Yang Maha Esa. I rubbed his temple and read some ayats to his ears. Not long after that, he calmed down and was able to breath like normal. The doctor than told me to gather the rest of the family members. He said that Abah was critical.

Being immobilized had apparently caused other problems in Abah’s medical condition. Ulcers began developing in his stomach. His lungs were somewhat affected too, all the time when he was just lying on his bed. One time his condition was so bad that he was put in ICU for close watch. In ICU he had wires all over his body. It was then I came to terms that I may loose Abah. When he was in ICU we took turns to read the Yassin. I knew he could hear us but he was so in pain to respond. Every time I read the Yassin, my eyes would be filled with tears. I felt so helpless, how else could I help ease his pain.

Abah & Mom - one of their umrah trips

It wasn’t easy for Mom. She had been spending most of her time in the hospital. We took turns to bring her food for her meals. I remember braving the jam to get to the hospital before dinner time. There were also times when I came to visit after visiting hours were over. The hospital guards were hash on me but that didn’t deter me from going up to be with Abah, even for a short while. I pasrah for this was a test from God Almighty, a real test of our emotions, physical and mental strength.

Abah suffered for almost 50 days. Just hours before he was taken to the OT, I remember Mom taking to him about how she had accepted all of God’s test on her. She redha with everything that had happened. What touched me was when she said she loved Abah so much and she minta Abah maafkan all her wrong doings in the past and halalkan semua makan minum all these while. Even though Abah couldn’t to respond to Mom’s words, I knew he heard and understood every word uttered by Mom. Not long after that, I saw my bother taking his ablution, he then took out the Surah Yassin from his pocket, and started to recite the Yassin with tears in his eyes. Being a doctor, surely he had seen such a situation happening to others. Surely, he had all the comforting words for the patient’s family members. But now, it was him being tested by God Almighty, a test of his professional credibility and a test of a filial son's emotions and strength.

Abah all set for his umrah trip - a family send off by his children & grandchildren

Dealing with Abah’s loss wasn’t easy. During the earlier months after his passing, every time I went back to our family home in Seremban, I’d be on a look out for Abah. I felt that he was still with us, present during the family talks and chats. It took a while for me to deal with his death. Most of the time, when I performed my solat, I’d pray alone. And I'd be crying until my eyes were tired, until there was no more tears to shed.

That Ramadhan in 1999, it was through my teraweh prayers I seek solace in God and it helped to ease the sadness in me. My thoughts were so much of him. Each year, Ramadhan comes and Ramadhan leaves but I hold fond and dear memories of Abah so very close in my heart. When I feel especially sad, I tell myself that I am truly blessed to have had such a loving father. And I can never thank him enough for all of the things he taught me, and for all of the wonderful memories he has given me to treasure.


(More Memories of Abah at my sister's blog space

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