I have always dread going to visit the sick or going to a wake or a funeral.
It is because of the fact that I cannot help myself from crying or feeling very, very sad from watching other people's loss or other people's grief and agony - I am very sensitive and soft at heart you see and I cannot stand to see other people, especially my friends and family suffer.
But isn't suffering and death a part of this life after all and thus we cannot escape from them?
I have not been in the mood to blog for a long time. It has been partly because of Ramadhan and all that but even before that I was in no mood at all to write about anything in this blog because ever since a blogger friend in Coventry had reported in her blog that her husband was at the last stages of cancer, I felt that surely everything that I have to report is so trivial compared to what she has to go through from now on everyday of her life.
We read each other's blogs, you see, and knowing this, I could not with a clear conscience write about anything happy or cheerful, when I know their family is going through a difficult time every day.
You might ask, if she is my very close friend then, for me to feel that way?
The answer to that is no, not really..she is not a close friend although we have met once (and now twice) and I slept over at her house for one night and our families had a wonderful day out together, but that's nothing, really...
I guess when one blogs, one's readers feel that they know one well, even though they really don't (not by a long shot in some cases) and even though they have never met you or they have met you just that one time, they feel like they have known you forever...
But now (Saturday 27/10/07), I feel that I can go on blogging as I have been to visit my friends in Coventry again and as expected, I came back very, very sad but also, I have to say, relieved.
Relieved not because I saw my friend's husband getting better, on the contrary, since the last time we saw him, just less than two months ago, he has changed so very much, no more bubbly and funny but instead so very thin, almost skeletal and he has become very weak and quiet. He was in pain - and such pain it was that he had to be given morphine consistently and as drugs go, he was sleepy and not in the mood to talk.
But still I was relieved.
Relieved because I saw in my friend a very strong woman who would not give up and would not let go without a fight, and a fierce and vicious fight she would put up too. I myself had to fight to put on a happy and 'normal' face while talking to her and later to him in the hospital room.
And all that time she spoke calmly, and it was easy for her to smile.
But still, I could not help from crying when we said our goodbyes at the hospital entrance. Her eyes had welled but she did not succumb to tears and I said to her what my thoughts were exactly at the time, "You're a strong woman..."
How brave and strong she is.
But if she was not, then, who would be for their family?
Thus, the reason why I was so relieved.
I had started to type this entry on Saturday but did not have time to finish and post it and last night my friend had sent us a text - a simple and short one;
And those words drove me to tears - for her loss and for her children's. They are so young to understand death and the responsibilities that their mother has to carry now, all alone. But I did not cry for him, as indeed, I think he is in a better place for surely, Allah knows best.
I remember when I last saw my father.
It was on the day that he was scheduled for a by-pass operation, which was on the same day I was scheduled to fly off to the UK to do my A-levels. It was pretty last minute and I could not change my flight date and I had asked my father then whether it was okay or if he wanted me to insist that my sponsors postpone the date of my departure to the UK.
He had said, "Tak apa lah. If anything happens..I go my way, and you go your way..." and he smiled, his usual calming smile.
And I hugged him and kissed his cheeks - which I don't remember ever doing. And I'm glad I did, for even though he passed away a few months later, and I was in the UK at the time and could not kiss his cold forehead just before he is wrapped in white cloth for his burial, at least I did kiss him while he was alive and smiling and his arms had come around to hug me and to pat my back to comfort me and say that it would be okay.
After a while, it will be okay, InshaAllah.
After all, the living must go on living.
And life is short after all and no one lives forever.
We just have to be brave and carry on.
(*pic taken when we were walking towards the cancer wing in the Walsgrave hospital at Coventry to visit our friends.)