Thoughts meander down outlandish cobwebby paths when we are greeted by that dreaded call, the harbinger of loss.
The call came when I was in the office that afternoon, almost a year ago today. It was one of those uneventful days, the kind of day that doesn’t leave etch in the greater scheme of life, that serves only to pass from dusk to dawn, an effete reminder that there’s always tomorrow.
“Nenek is dying”, short was Mama’s words. I panicked. I rang Wawan; he too decided to take an emergency leave and cancelled his Shanghai flight. I remembered Shanghai because Wawan had been talking about the flight - the bonus flight that would make him RM 1K richer than usual, so he joked. 50% is for me, so I replied. We made a 2-hour record dash to Taiping, dragging Abang Dan, who’s just got home from Jakarta, along with us. Alas, Emi and Ita were away, I’m positive they too would drop everything for Nenek.
I was shattered and strewn to see Nenek. I hated having to admit that Mama was right. Only the day before did he laugh at me and I shared the laugh. Only the day before did I hear him uttered his thanks after my attempt to make him comfortable. Only the day before did I watch him finish his meal and shared a smile. I had only left Taiping the night before.
He had never been seriously ill before, after the hospital blunder he deteriorated fast. I believed he’s getting better; he’d pull through, being the strong fighter that he was - I was wrong. Shortly after we arrived at the hospital, we saw him leaving us.
Leaving us - such is my euphemism of death.
My meandering thoughts, you asked. Hmmmm … maybe if there’s a USB port somewhere; you can copy the image files from my brain cells to your thumb drive? I can’t really verbalise them.
I have my regrets; for not telling Nenek how much I loved him, for not telling Nenek that he meant the world to me, for not telling Nenek that I felt fortunate to have him as my mirror, for not thanking Nenek enough for his love, his stories, his jokes, the pocket monies even after I started work, the discussions, the debates, the literary intercourse, the maths drill and all that he taught me.
Nenek, you are dearly missed… a little al-fatihah for Nenek.