I am finally able to really sit down this week. It's only been a week since my grandmother went back to the Creator, but i think because i was in and out of the hospital, i couldn't pay much attention to the broken part deep deep down in my heart; that is until today. I've written and mentioned Che in my writings a number of times, so i decided to search for the word 'Che'. a list of posts popped up, and i'm a blubbering mess right now after reading them all. That little hole she left me with has just gotten bigger.
I want to remember her. So as much as this is a sharing for anyone who stumbles into this blog, i'm writing today to keep her in this little hidey hole of mine. So this might be an ultra long post, and i'm not even sure of what i will write. But i will. So here goes: our little story.
Abah picked me from the hospital at 7am. Post tag-call. It was only a day or two after the 'banjir' has gone down. Instead of going straight home, Abah drove me to Auntie's house. It's been about 2 weeks since i last saw Che. And i heard Che was not properly eating a day or so. She was sleeping when I arrived, which is not unusual. But she looked so tired. I checked her pulse. It was fast, but it has always been like that for the past months. I was too preoccupied listening to Auntie telling me the banjir story that day, as they were trapped for the past few days in the house at Kg Pendek, Salor. I remembered thinking, "nasib baik Che tak sakit teruk masa tu". Breathing a sigh of relief knowing that a nurse will attend to Che later in the evening. I said my goodbyes, but somehow i didn't kiss her cheeks like i normally do.
Little did i know that was actually my last goodbye.
I slept late that night, it was almost 1:00am. I tried finishing some slides, and was prepping myself for my on-call the next day. I was almost dozing off when i heard some small knocks on my door. Then later someone opened the door, left some keys and closed it back. I was a bit confused. But i continued sleeping. Then i heard the sound of Abah's car leaving the house. "Che?" I thought of her. Did something happened? But i pushed that thought away and continued sleeping. Only to be woken up a short while later with a phonecall from Abah.
"Yan, che takde dah."
After subuh i was all prepared to go to Auntie's house where Che is. Abah, Mama and Lin came back for their shower and we head back there. The house was filled with family members. I saw Che covered from top to toe, surrounded with people reciting the Quran. I wanted to see her face, but i couldn't because of the people around her. I sat near her feet and started reciting Yaasin. Then i lifted the cloth at her feet, and saw the bandages around her foot ulcers. I touched her feet, they were cold. And i can't help myself and sobbed.
Time passed and it was time for mandi jenazah. My heart says i just have to do it. So i went and asked Mok Su, the one in charged. She said yes, sure you can. And together with other family members, we bathe Che. As gentle as we could, and as careful as we could. Apologizing now and then, if we are hurting her in any way. Some were crying, but i wasn't. The feeling was indescribable. I washed her ulcers, some were new. I realized that those new ulcers developed when i started working in the hospital. I didn't even know. :'(
I went for the burial too. I know it's not advisable to go there, but i wanted to. Just this once. And i get to see arwah Ayoh (grandfather)'s grave too. Right beside Che's. And after it was finished i went back to the hospital for my oncall. And the days passed. Coming back and going to the hospital somehow made me numbed. Allah kept me away from sadness for the time being, making me forget that i have lost a very special person in this lifetime.
A few weeks before i came back for good from Dublin, Che had a stroke. I came back to a new version of Che. No longer the forgetful one who can sit on her own, but it's someone who's always sleeping. Who looks lethargic all the time. She seldom speaks. Only when she wants to. Even so, her words are short. Sometimes she remembers, sometimes she doesn't. She eats very little, so we started giving her those special milk, via syringes. On good days she'll have a good cup of milk per meal. On bad days she'll have only a quarter of a cup. She can no longer bathe herself, so we have to lift her up to the toilet, to wash and bathe her. It's difficult for everyone and even her. But we just have to do our best.
I came by as often as i could. Everyday or every other day. Checked her pulse. See if she's dehydrated or not. When i'm worried, i asked Mama to call the doctor. One time, we went to Kuala Lumpur for weeks. For my interviews and so on. And i came back to Che developing huge foot ulcers. And she was feverish too. And my new routine started. To keep watch of her ulcers. To do her dressings. After a few visits by the doctor, we all learn how to deal with her ulcers. I did my very best. It's not like other family members can't do it, they can. But back then, i wanted to be the one doing it for Che. Because i knew i will no longer have much chances to do it when i started working. And because i knew that the time i'm spending with her will soon runs out. And because everybody else were doing something for Che, bathing her, feeding her, so that's the least i could do; to be the cucu doktor at her feet. :')
One time, she opened her eyes when i came to do her dressing. She was a bit healthier that day. More alert. She saw me, crooning down, huddled at her numb feet. She asked someone around who i was. And i answered: "Cucu che la. yan ni. Che ingat kan. Che, yan jadi doktor dah ni Che." She looked at me. "Ouh.. doktor dah?" Did she knew then? Wallahua'lam. I just wish she did. i pray that she did.
As time passes her condition deteriorates. Bit by bit. Thinner by the day. She was sleeping most of the time. Refusing to open her eyes. She drinks her milk with eyes closed. She seldom talks. A few weeks before Che passed away, she stayed at our house for 2 weeks. I only started working at that time, and i was still able to tend to her feet because she's at our home. And i get to kiss her in the morning before heading for work. But one time, I listened to her lungs.... I talked to my aunts. Che is and will deteriorate further, i said. If she suddenly gets really sick, what will we do? No hospital. That was the unanimous decision. As much as it was a heavy decision, but i felt the same. Hospital would be too much for her. But i prayed that no such event will happen for us to make that decision.
And nothing happened. She was sleeping that night. But her breathing was different. A bit heavier, that was what my cousins noticed. After midnight, Auntie finally called Mama. Auntie wasn't exactly sure, but she told Mama, Che looked a bit different. Hence, the knocks on the door that night before they left me at home. Mama and Abah didn't bring me with them because they were not sure of what was wrong, and was worried that i might be too tired for work the next day. But i was told, after a while of heavy breathing, suddenly Che was gone, after kalimah Allah. :'(
Che. The once grumpy grandmother with her very pedas words. She would rant about this and that, and made some of her grandchildren fearsome of her. But i saw through her. Despite her ranting about our "seluar apa panjang labuh ni, lipat tinggi-tinggi, nanti heret tahi ayam, nak sembahyang macam mana?" - making all of our trousers/ skirts lifted an inch before entering her room - she was a big softie.
I remembered years back, when i started kissing her on the cheeks, despite her annoyance; "Che busuk buat apa cium? Kenapa cium orang tua macam ni?" But i still do. And eventually i realized that whenever i was about to go back after visiting her, she have this expectant gesture, saying that she is busuk but giving me her cheeks still, knowing that i will kiss her no matter what she says. Cute. :)
I will remember the summer days i spent with her, whenever i came back home from Dublin. We would count the years left till i graduate. And i will ask her to pray for me. Che doa sokmo (selalu). And i would cheekily ask her to pray for my jodoh too, asking her that she has to be healthy until the day i meet my Mr Right, because i wanted her to listen to the guy reciting the Quran in front of her, just like she did towards me. Cause sometimes she would ask me to recite Al-fatihah, or Al-kafirun when i'm in her room - fixing my A'in, and Qaf and Ra, always the wrong Ra. and it's always a huge accomplishment if i could recite the Quran with her listening, without any fixes. And she would also cheekily answer my requests: "Che doa sokmo yan boleh hok juruh (baik). Nanti baca doa ni lepas tu tiup kat orang Yan berkenan". :') Che and her antiques.
Sadly i didn't get to bring any Mr Right to you, but i take comfort knowing that whoever i get later on has always been someone who was a part of your prayers insyaAllah. And most importantly, i am blessed that your prayers were with me the whole journey of me becoming a doctor. And i believe whole-heartedly that without Che's prayers, i wouldn't even be where i am today, or who i am today. Thank you Che, because of your prayers, you have made us - your anak-anak and cucu and cicit- as who we are today. It's time for us, your grandchildren to do our part now. To be better Muslims, and send lots and lots of prayers for you insyaAllah.
You will forever be remembered as my cute grumpy Che.
Praying that i will meet you again in Jannah,
Aamiin wa insyaAllah.
One who misses you so much,
the cucu at your feet. :')
"Apabila seorang manusia mati, putuslah (tulisan pahala) amalan
kecuali tiga perkara (yang akan berlanjutan tulisan pahalanya) iaitu
kecuali tiga perkara (yang akan berlanjutan tulisan pahalanya) iaitu
atau ilmu yang memberi faedah kepada orang lain
atau anak yang soleh yang berdoa untuknya."
[riwayat Imam Ahmad]
semoga doa anak-anak dan cucu-cucu Che diterima.