This is an old blog of mine, written on the 16th of August 2005:

3 days ago it has been one year since my dear grandmother passed away…

I still remember the day vividly. The smell, the light, the feeling…

Thursday, 12th August 2004

My two brothers and I went to our parent’s house in Kuching from our home in Klang. At that time our parents were living in Kuching while the house in Klang is looked after mainly by Adam (the truth is by my mom’s perfect maid, Makcik Istiqamah – you don’t get that kind of maid anywhere!). That afternoon we drove to my aunt’s office in Klang town, so that she can drive the car back and we take a cab from there. Long story…

Anyway, my grandmother who lived next door came and bid us goodbye. I was supposed to go and stay with her a bit longer that morning, but I put off my packing the day before, serve me right..and the night before I planned to stay with her for a few hours, maybe until she sleeps, but my brother Adam came home and said he wanted dinner. So I had to go a bit earlier from her house in which I spent only 1/2 hour. She asked me, “going back already?” She never asked me that before, you know, I cringed but said yes. Shouldn’t have done so…

Well, to continue with that Thursday afternoon. We cried when we bade goodbye, I hugged and kissed her. She told me to pray for her health and long life when we’re in Mecca later (we’re going for umrah the week after that, and that’s supposed to be our last time seeing her before the umrah). When my brother drove off, he commented, “You know embah’s (grandma) goodbye wave always look so sad.” I said, “Of course it’s sad, it’s a wave good bye, you’re not seeing that person again.”

So we had a safe flight back to our parent’s place.

It was so nice, the six of us together. For only a few months back my brother Taufiq and I were in Dublin, there were only four of them at home, sounded lonely for my parents. We had a good night’s sleep, I thought of calling my grandmother the next morning, telling her we’re safe with our parents.

Friday 13th August 2004

I can’t remember when exactly did I wake up the next morning, but I can recall when I was walking out of my room, I heard my mother saying that her maid called Adam and told her grandma’s having pain in her leg, and need to call someone to get her to the hospital. My 16year old cousin Sarah was panicking, she called her mother at work but she didn’t pick up. So my mother called my uncles to see who can get her to the hospital. As it was Friday prayer time in the west coast (my father’s back from the mosque, we’re having our lunch), we had to wait a bit longer. Finally we got hold of my uncle Cik Jib and my aunt Cik Yam.

I was wondering, should I go back to Klang. I’ll be spending more of my father’s money if I do, I’ve just came to Kuching the day before. I called Sarah to see how things are going, but she doesn’t know. She was crying and told me to come back because she’s scared. I called Cik Yam but couldn’t get her.

I told my father about Sarah, and he asked me, “do you want to go home?” I said “I don’t know. Do you think I should?” “Up to you.” “You don’t mind? We’ve just arrived yesterday.” “No, I don’t. You can look after your grandmother. You’re the closest to her.” “I’ll go book my ticket.”

So I booked and got a flight at 7 something. My father flew to Sibu that afternoon for a conference. On the way to the airport we got a call from Cik Yam that the doctor suggested all of us to come home. We tried to call our father (he should’ve arrived at Sibu by then) but couldn’t get him.

We booked another 5 tickets, but the rest of my family got the next flight at 8pm or 10…I can’t remember. I waited for my call in the prayer room, after prayers I boarded the flight.

I tried to read in the flight, waiting to go. Then suddenly I noticed my father standing in the isle, he said our family got the seats from his good friend. Then I stood to ask him where he’s sitting. He told me, “Your grandma’s passed away.”

I hugged him and cried…I don’t care if people are staring at us. The flight crews didn’t say anything. These things happen. I cried and I cried…then my father took me to his seat. Then I noticed my mother, brothers and sister were seated behind us.

The whole journey…we cried, ate our dinner, tried to sleep…my father wrote something in a notebook. I sat trying to unblock my nose…can’t breathe. When he finished writing he gave the notebook to me. I read it and cried again…then I passed it to Tau.

I don’t think I need to say what happened next. We took 2 cabs; me with my two brothers. Adam read the notebook in the cab and started crying again. I texted a few friends about what happened.

The saddest moment that night was when my father called my aunt Cik Mah in New Zealand. It must’ve been 5am there. I heard her picking up the phone, then my father said, “Mah, ada berita buruk…mak dah meninggal…” My aunts, my mother and I started crying again..

I’ve always told my father before, that if someone calls in the middle of the night, just hope the person’s got the wrong number.

The funeral was done the next day. Hundreds of people came; I remember because there were at least 10 people in a line during the prayer, and at least 15 such lines, maybe more. That doesn’t include those in the living room, the kitchen, outside the house, in the rooms.. my grandfather’s funeral had similar number of people. Everyone was shocked because she was perfectly well the day before. It was really sudden.

I remember that when I looked at my brothers, they had never been this sad before. My 4-year-old cousin Adib told his elder sister, “Anis, embah meninggal. Semua orang nangis.”

I remember that my mother couldn’t get over her sadness for quite some time. I remember that my father is always quick to say that he’s motherless now..

And I remember when I was in Mecca, I always thought that we will all go home and sit with her during breakfast on Sunday and tell her all the things that happened during our stay there, presenting her gifts…but I realized we could not do that…ever…