|Baba - pic taken during Epit's wedding in June last year|
This is my father. I call him Baba
Baba passed away last Thursday 27 September 2012 at the age of 79.
Baba has not been well for many years.
During rambutan season in 2007, the ladder he climbed to pick the golden juicy rambutan for Ayong his beloved grandaughter fell down when the branch he leaned the ladder against, deflected after he cut off the fruits. Baba was thrown off to the ground and the heavy aluminium ladder fell on him and crushed his pelvic bones.
He refused to go to hospital but seek a traditional healer instead . The broken bones must have healed but he was in constant pain. His health deteriorated slowly.
On good days he would take out the car and went for a short drive to the village health clinic to check his blood pressure.
In 2010 he asked to be taken to a specialist clinic in Kuantan for gastric problems. [I blogged about it here] The surgeon did a colonoscopy and found nothing serious apart from acute gastritis, inflamed pancreas and swollen colon. Baba had thought that all his pain can be removed by surgery. He was terribly disappointed.
He spend more time in bed.
Every now and then he would make my mother call us all and we would drop everything and rushed to see Baba.
After a while, we waited for weekend when we received such call.
Last Saturday, Ma called while I was in class, teaching. I rushed to see Baba, thinking the worst. Only to be told that he didn't want to go to hospital should he became too sick. I just said yes and went back to class.
Wednesday morning, another call from Ma. She asked me to come immediately. On the way, Ma called again and asked me to buy nasi lemak from Baba's favourite nasi lemak stall. Nasi lemak was sold out. I bought nasi berlauk. On arrival, Baba complained he had not been able to eat or drink since the night before. He managed to take a sip of water and a spoonful of the nasi berlauk. I went back to work.
At 3.00 pm, Ma called again. Baba had trouble breathing and suffering a massive chest pain. He asked to be taken to hospital. I rushed back. My youngest brother arrived to take him to hospital but Baba felt a bit better and asked to postpone going.
At about 5.00 pm, he asked to be taken to hospital. I took him to the emegency room. Doctor checked his heart but found nothing abnormal. Baba was given the oxygen. After two hours he felt better and was released. Baba was extraordinarily happy about going home.
About 4.00 am my brother smsed telling Baba was warded. Turned out he was taken back to emergency room at 1.00 am
7.00 am I went to work as usual. Thought of going to see Baba in the ward during visiting hour at 2.00pm. Sister, son and daughter called to ask if they should rush home. I said yes.
12.00 noon, there was a jamuan for one of the colleague who was going for hajj.
Long speeches. My brother smsed telling he received a call from hospital.
At about 1.00 pm, I slipped away to go to the hospital.
As I stopped at the gate for the guard to raise the bar, my daughter called to ask if it was true that Baba had passed away. I was confused. I called my brother just as his call was coming in. It was true. Baba had passed away.
I rushed to get Ma at home. She was just getting ready to visit Baba in the hospital. Fidgeting about finding Baba's glasses. Told her not to bother. Once she was comfortably seated in the car, I told her the news. Ma took it calmly.
We drove to the hospital, comforting each other.
Reached hospital, my brother was waiting outside, apparently shaken up. I took Ma to see the body still on the bed in the ward. Wrapped and covered.
Colleagues arrived with advices on what to do. Thank god for them.
Ma, my brother and I decided not to wait further but proceed with what needed to be done. We decided to have mandi jenazah and kapan [cleansing ritual and wrapping in shroud] done at the hospital while funeral prayer was to be performed at the village's mosque.
One of the hospital staff arranged for the cleansing ritual. My son and my sister arrived from Kajang. Another younger brother arrived from Sg Buloh. So the four of us took part in the cleansing ritual.
The village's head arrived to arrange for the funeral prayer and burial. My brother managed to get the hearse from the hospital. Ayong arrived with some friends and I told her to wait at home. Colleagues arranged for a bus load of students to take part in the funeral prayer.
By 5.30pm burial was completed. Scented water was poured on the freshly covered grave and all of us retreated home, physically and emotionally exhausted.
We were sad, that's a given but at the same time relieved because Baba is now no longer in pain.
Rest in peace Baba.
Ya Rabb, forgive my father and have mercy on him. Place him among those you love. Aamiin.