On Death

I have a strange relationship with death. My first experience of death was when I was 6 years old. My family and I were living in Kota Bharu at that time. I remember watching television and someone called. My mother picked up the phone, spoke a few words, hung up and then started crying. I didn’t understand what was going on. I learnt later that my grandmother had passed away in Makkah whilst performing her Hajj. I didn’t understand and couldn’t comprehend the pain my mother felt. I just knew I wished it stopped.

Fast Forward a few years later. My grandfather (my father’s father) in Ipoh had passed away. I remember going back to Ipoh. Many sad people were there. I’ve never seen so many people in the house in Kg Manjoi. It was the first time I saw a body wrapped in the cotton cloth. I still didn’t understand the finality of it. I kissed my grandfather on the forehead being very careful not to allow any tears to fall on the body. It was easy. Though I felt sadness I wasn’t crying.

A few years later, I was back on holiday from school in the UK. My parents picked me up at the airport and took me home. When we reached home, I unpacked and had a shower. Once I got settled in, I went downstairs to watch telly. My parents were there. My mother looked at me and told me that my grandfather (her father) had passed away a few days ago. I asked her why she didn’t tell me when it happened. I can’t remember what she said. I just remember being angry. Just full of disbelief because I had seen my grandfather only a few months ago. So far, this grandfather, Tok Rashid, was the one that I was closest to.

More people passed away. Uncles, aunties, Grand uncles and grand aunties.

My father passed away in 2002 after a long fight with diabetes and kidney failure.

My mother passed away in 2006 after a long fight with post operative complications from removing tumour in her brain.

I have come to hate hospitals with a vengeance.

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