It is all over now. She was buried yesterday before Friday prayers. Life is not back to normal because if it was normal then she should be around, sitting on the sofa watching her favourite Indonesian, South American, Chinese and Hindi soaps. No, it is not back to normal. Life has taken a turn, or a new twist, whichever way you may want to call it.
I remember telling my children that their grandmother will not live to see Chinese New Year, not that she celebrates it, but I missed by 16 hours. No I am not proud at being able to make a near-miss prediction; it's just that when one has seen quite a few of such cases, one can feel it under his skin that something is going to happen. I knew when I said that my children wasn't happy with my prediction because they were very close to her, especially my eldest, but I said it to not let them have false hope. Call me cruel but I think they were more ready to face the inevitable when the time came.
On Chinese New Year's day at about 2.25, my wife asked me if I could call Doc Tokasid up and asked the significance of her mother having very low blood pressure. I have to give this to the Doc, I had called up him up numerous times to seek for medical advice. I guess I owe him a bundle in consultation fees. Anyway I have already told him to bill the Barisan Nasional Headquarters because this being election seasons, they would even pay for the diapers you used. Back to the story. Her pressure was 80/40. I am no doctor but I know that is not the kind of reading you would like to see in the BP of any human being. I called the doc up. He knew about my MIL's refusal to go to the hospital so he gave me the next best advice based on his many years experience as a medical practitioner.
He said, "Cikgu, saya rasa baik suruh depa mengaji". That to us means, recite the quran and hope for divine intervention. He based his recommendation from my constant consultation with him. He knew the situation and gave the best piece of advice and for that my wife's family, my children and I would be forever indebted. I knew what he meant and relayed it to my wife who by then was ready to accept what the Almighty had wanted.
They continued to feed her liquid diet and the pressure went up a bit. All the activities for the past month or so had taken a heavy toll on my wife and me. At about 4.25, I went to bed to take a short nap. My wife was putting on her 'telekung' for that was the only time she could find to perform her prayers. Before she could even cover up fully, my SIL came running to our room to alert us of something serious in the other room. It took us about 2 to 3 seconds. There she was, breathing in very heavily for what seemed like eternity before meekly breathing out. There was a failed attempt to take another breath. It ended amidst the prayers recited in her ears and the confusion. True, there was confusion. I couldn't get a pulse but dared not pronounce her dead. After a while, it sank that she was gone. My wife's worried and concerned sobs turned into a soft wail. My daughter was slumped onto the body of her grandmother. My Brother in law was in a state of shock.
The first thing I did was to call my son who was working. He was reluctant to go to work but his mother told him that nothing was going to happen. Then I called up Doc, to relate what had happened and asked him to convey the message to fellow bloggers. He went one up and put up a post. Shah did likewise and soon I was receiving calls and sms from fellow bloggers, people whom I have personally never met but are very close to me. Then it was to call up my downstairs neighbour and asked him to contact my other friends which he promptly did.
I did not have to lift a finger while my neighbours did everything. They prepared the special room at the surau just next to my block. They arranged chairs and in no time everything was ready. We decided to have the burial the next day before noon so as to enable to her grandchildren from KL and Kuantan to attend. My sister from Shah Alam and brother from Johor also called to say that they would be coming back.
The incorrigible power lines in my house which plunged us into darkness the night my MIL had her first fit attack and was arrested by the wiremen sent by the JPN suddenly broke free and again plunged us into darkness that night. Luckily we were ready.
The next day, which was yesterday, while preparations were proceeding smoothly, there was further confusion. As the children were asked to give their mother a farewell kiss, my BIL succumbed to extreme emotional strain and almost collapsed. He went limp and had to be carried away to another corner of the surau while they were lifting the coffin. I couldn't follow and attended to my BIL. Although, limped and barely able to stand, he insisted on following. His children and wife couldn't stop him. It was evident that he had suffered a minor stroke, something which he was not a stranger to. I had to plead with him and promised to take him there in the evening when he is better.
He gave up and had to be carried to my apartment up one flight of stairs. That night we had prayers attended only by family members and this morning, all those from afar started making their journey back home. Very soon my SIL from Pahang would be going back home and my wife would finally feel the full impact of her loss. I would be there but I hope it would be enough.