Take a picture of the sky every time you miss her

It’s a trending reel on Instagram. I had thought of jumping into that healing method as well but never got around to doing so. The ‘miss her’ part is often substituted by heaves of silent sighs. Macam ada feeling tak complete although when I try to remember back, I don’t really talk to my mom that often when she was alive. I was just never the talking about my life type. Even then, Alhamdulillah, Allah bestowed upon me a daughter.

She is a charm. She seems to have a high degree of emotional intelligence for a child that surprises me sometimes. She would ask me if I was Ok. If I was happy? I mean, what kind of child asks an adult those sorts of questions. I know my son doesn’t and he is in primary school. My kids are my world. My daughter especially. If anything happens to her, I think I would hit rock bottom.

Today, I finally got around to cleaning the guest room. We haven’t been receiving guests for a very long time since Covid19 struck. The room had that abandoned, musty smell. I opened the windows to air it out. Hoovered the floor and changed the bedsheets. Then, I saw something on the dresser and was automatically brought to tears.

It was my mom’s crystal bracelet.

It’s been in that room for god knows how long and if I didn’t clean it, I’d probably not know that it was there all this time. A piece of her. To keep. I had to take a moment to calm myself down when I found the bracelet. I thought I’ve passed the time where one would be missing their loved ones deeply but it seems that I haven’t. Instead, I realized that I have always missed her and those feelings are suppressed by the stress at work and the busyness in managing the household.

Grief is love with nowhere to go

I asked my sister if it was OK for me to keep the bracelet. In case she loved the design. She said I could keep it. I couldn’t really explain that feeling of comfort I have when I wear the bracelet. At least bila tak dapat ziarah kubur, I have this bracelet sebagai pengubat rindu.

Seniah Part 3 (final)

Part 3 : Lessons from Mom

When we lose someone we love, mesti akan ada soalan ‘did you have any regrets, what would you have done differently’. naturally, akan ada nyer that moments of regret.

Mine is in not encouraging her to fully pursue her happiness.

Mothers, universally, the ones who love their children, can put up with a lot of shit just so their children could be happy and have more than what they did before. And all this at the expense of their own happiness. sometimes bila kita tgk mak2 yang dah berumur, kita lupa that within that soul, there is still that young soul which yearns for life happiness, that is probably still thinking about her own dreams and ambition. cuma that desire mungkin dah di channel ke tengok citer hindustan, main2 dengan cucu, masuk kelas mengaji dsb.

looking back, my mom came to semenanjung because she followed my dad atas urusan kerja. She left her family, her best friends all in Sarawak. Her entire support system was in Sarawak. The only familiar person she knew was the husband and her beloved, naughty children. Thankfully, due to her extrovert nature, she was quick to make new friends and make a decent life out of the very little resources that we have. There were difficulties that she faced as an adult which we kids, could only come to understand as we became adults too.

I believe that if she pursued what she wanted to in the first place, she could be happier.

Maybe lepas ni kita boleh tanya mak kita, pada yang masih ada mak, nak buat apa lagi? kot2 mak kita nak gi bungee jumping ke, melancong, sambung belajar…

ee, haneem.. mummy nak gi konsert bts. gitu.

a few months ago, I attended this virtual psychology conference and one of the highlights of the conference was how our normal grieving process is deeply affected by the pandemic. Selalunya lepas kematian, kita akan berkumpul dengan sanak saudara, ada funeral wake, ada kenduri tahlil, ada counseling kat klinik ke apa for traumatic events.. but because of pkp ke apa.. this process terbantut. Therefore, it may take longer for some poeple to let go. Holding on to grief for too long may have adverse effects on to how an individual functions in their daily lives. Grief is not death per se. It could be the end of relationships, the loss of an income and so on.. There are numerous advice from people or the internet on how one could go about it – explore, read and try what may work for you. Call up or watsapp a trusted friend(s). Call up a psychosocial service. do not suffer alone. For myself,

  • it helps to be surrounded by family. Hikmah diberi cuti 3 hari untuk kematian ahli keluarga terdekat. untuk rehat, tidur, bertenang dan atur semula kehidupan. plus I have a daughter that keeps asking what are we having for our meal today. Thank Allah for the husband who will GRAB/PANDA FOOD. I also have a siblings whatsapp group called powerpuff. love them muchos like nachos.
  • engage in activities that gives you assurance that mummy will benefit from it too. In the context of my religion, that would be to do solat sunat and read the quran. Sedekahkan pahala, they say.
  • engage in activities that makes you relax. Mine is writing, (FB/blog/assignment), listening to music and sleep. Again, I should plant a tree.
  • I feel that if I rewire my thoughts that MOM is milik Allah yang kekal and that she was loaned to us for a while, ( to love us and teach us to find our way) and that HE will take her back, only to be reunited later in heaven, it makes me feel better. I don’t feel robbed. Plus, I have faith that Islam is easy and kind. There is always a way for me to feel connected to my mom. No need for ouija board or anything.

Penghujung yang dicemburui

We don’t get to choose how and when we die. We could only hope for a good ending. With mummy, I think it was an ending that we all needed. One with a good closure. There was time for goodbyes, for prayers, for advice. There was time to grasp an understanding of her medical condition and the gravity of the matter. When you have that understanding, it makes the goodbyes easier. Because you would as a family member, feel that letting her return to The Creator peacefully, is the best thing for her.

Seniah Part 2

Part 2 : The Final Week

Mummy has been unwell since mid June. At first, she was observed at MAEPS, Serdang for she was stable but soon she began experiencing headache, nausea and shortness of breath. She was then transferred to Hospital Sungai Buloh and treated accordingly. She seemed to respond to her treatment but the complications were permanent. Her lungs were functioning at less than 30%. In a way, she will require oxygen support at home. so, the hunt for an oxygen concentrator begun.

I got in touch with this guy called Eugene who was selling the Philips-respirator thing. I liked that he took the time to understand the requirements of my mother and advised accordingly. For comparison, I got in touch with another distributor of a different brand. Didn’t like that guy that all, gunalah sentimen ‘sayang mak’ ke apa.. Me no likey. So, I chose Eugene.

Got my mom a wheelchair and a walking stick with those stools too. So she could walk outside to the yard and talk to her potted plants. My brothers even moved her double bed from upstairs to the living room. Right in front of the TV cause she wanted to watch Netflix. We were ready to receive her at home and provide her with round-the-clock care. Like a queen.

However, Allah had different plans.

I received a phonecall from the physician saying that she deteriorated, almost immediately. She was no longer on nasal prong. She needed one of those high flow masks. Her case was referred to the anaes team but somehow I knew, her prognosis was guarded. True enough, she was not an ideal candidate for non invasive ventilation nor intubation. I would say the same if I was on the anaes team. Which leaves palliative care as the management plan. To make her comfortable until its time for her to go. Mummy was allowed visitors and the physician strongly insisted that I come see her before the weekend. Only, I was a bit stuck with the roster.

There were thoughts of,

“Possible ke.. Cukup orang ke?”

When I eventually asked nervously for an Emergency Leave (EL) from my boss, her response was a wholehearted yes, to go see my mother,

She said,

‘mak you ni tak akan jumpa jual kat mana2. Go and I hope she gets well soon. I am sure your good friends can cover. Saya doakan segala urusan dipermudahkan. Banyakkan berdoa’

I had wanted to leave the next morning but at 230am, I received a call from Hospital Sungai Buloh. I was put on a video call with my mom. She was drowsy and very lethargic. Medically her GCS is like E3V5M5. I couldn’t really hear her words. All I could pick up was Sayang and Maaf. After the call, I had to act fast. First, I called my sister to inform her of the current situation. Thankfully, she is a light sleeper. She and the brothers went to the ward in a jiff and accompanied my mom while I make my way there. It was a mess but doable.

For rentas negeri police clearance, I had to print a few things. The form, my IC and the letter from hospital. I made 2 copies and filled it in straight. Nasiblah rumah ada printer dengan pen. Haneem was already awake from the printer sound, so I told her to kejut Ee and started packing their clothes to bring to the grandmother. Chose an ironless outfit for myself, made some milk for Haneem and asked EE to call my mother in law for urgent drop-off.

I overheard  EE speaking on the phone

” nenek. Kejap lagi ee ngan anim dtg rumah”

 tu je ayat kau.meh.

After the drop off, tetiba mcm blur  – balai polis kat mana. Nasiblah awal pagi, boleh gostan kalau salah jalan. Mula2 pergi balai kat batu berendam. Gate besar dia tutup plak dari jauh. Ni kena goncang ke apa gate besar dia ni. Nak jerit2 dari luar ke ‘tolong..tolong’. Ok, niat abandoned. Tetiba teringat ada balai polis kat ayer keroh. Alhamdulillah, terang balai tu. Takde gate. Scan mysejahtera, scan suhu, bagi borang. Polis tegas tapi berhikmah dan prihatin. Dalam kepala selalu repeat ‘police are doing their job to ensure that you are safe, that the country is safe – if ikut arahan, should be ok’

Takkanlah dia tiba2 nak gari kalau tudung tak matching baju kannn..

Selesai cop borang, tetiba panik.. Kat mana aku nak carik touch and go ni. Sejak tahun lepas tak pernah gi merentas, dah lupa dah pasal tol. Berenti kereta tepi jalan. Nak call husband, husband kat JB.  Mak mertua rasanya tak pakai touch n go. Siapa kawan yg aku ada yang aku boleh kacau? Last2 decide tepon nik azizah, sbb dia ketua batch sekolah dan rasanya dia ada di melaka. Insyaallah diatak marah kalau sis call dia.. Sebab dia presiden batch yang sedia membantu. Boleh ke mcm tu alasan dia. . Tapi nik tidur mati plak.. Adeh.

Maka sis pasang mode reckless.. Buat dulu pikir kemudian

Sis redah tol dgn touch n Go yg kat IC walaupun tkde duit kt dalam tu.  Duit cash yang sis ada hanyalah daripada baki duit raya yang husband bagi hari tu. Cukuplah nk top up kat highway. Kalau palang tu tak naik, nak buat muka seposen kat polis roadblock tepi tol tu, pinnjam touch and go dia. Ibarat patient gi appointment klinik, tetiba dia period dan mintak pad dari doktor. Tak akan ada doktor tak bagi pinjam pad, kalau dia takde, dia akan mintak dari nurse. So logiknya kalau polis tu tkde, mungkin dia akan call kawan dia kat balai memana, bagi kad touch n go.

Kalau tkde jugak, aku kejut je memana abang yg tido dlm lori tepi jalan tu.. Mintak pinjam touch and go. Dia punya reckless dah tahap camtuh. 

Alhamdulilah, palang naik. Tq for the genius who decided to incorproate touch n go dlm mykad. Tq also for the genious who decided to build hospital sungai buloh dekat dgn tol. Senang nak carik dalam gelap.

What happened afterwards was what I would describe as urusan dipermudahkan. Mummy must have done a lot of good things in her lifetime.

We managed to talk to her (whisper in her ear). We like to think that she can hear but she cannot respon. Recited yassin multiple times, selawat and all. We took turns as respect to the guard and hospital policy. Yelah.. Orang lain pun ada family members dying. Dalam wad pun ada pesakit lain jugak. We keep our voices and cries to the lowest decibel. Just enough for mum to hear. When I first arrived, her oxygen saturation was about 62-63&. She was tachycardic at 150 ish. I removed the BP cuff and just kept the oximeter on. Within the next 2 hours, her sats dropeed to less than 50%, she became bradycardic. Nearing her time, she changed her own position from bain on her side to supine. Her peripheries were getting cold. She was starting to gasp. We removed her mask and my brothers repeatedly recited the syahadha in her ears. And just like that, she let out her final breath and is gone. Her pupils were dilated. She had no pulse. We took a minute to just sit there before I called the staff to come over and confirm her death for medicolegal purposes.

Time of death 733am and classified as kematian biasa.

The staff proceeded to process her Last Office. We kemas her things and waited at Jabatan Forensik. There were just us. No one else. We were told that we could engage with recognized 3rd parties (they gave us a name list of ustaz and ustazah) to help mandi and solat jenazah patient. THANKFULLY, my quick thinking siblings brought cash with them. nak harap kakak dia ni memang taklah… . We had enough to pay for everything.

RM650 for mandi and solat jenazah (khidmat imam)

RM250 for urusan lot pengebumian – we called up the person in charge of tanah perkuburan usj 22. We stayed at USJ during our early years in semenanjung.

RM 23 for van jenazah from hospital to USJ 22.

It was a very calming and insightful process. Ustazah Hasnah guided us on how to mandikan our mom, she told us to take a photo of mom glowing as a memory, to make a voicecall with her other loved ones who couldn’t be there. Who are jauh in sarawak. Actually, there was a time that we were caught off guard. Ustazah asked what was our grandmothers name. I think we went blank. We never met our grandmother, we only know her name was Siti. So we said Siti . apa ni yasmin… May Allah forgive us. Once she dikapankan, we performed solat jenazah. The 4 of us siblings with the ustaz. Me and my sister boleh plak bawak telekung tkde kain. Nasiblah mummy ada stokin. Maka pakai ajaleh telekung dgn stokin. It was a very simple, straight forward process. After the prayers, van jenazah dah sedia. Danial sat in with the jenazah. My sister and I trailed behind Matin’s car to the graveyard. The police at SJR were quick to let us through when Matin showed and informed them of mummy’s death cert.

Once we reach Tapak Perkuburan USJ22, it was near 12 noon. A space was already dug for her. sekarang mana de org cangkul2, guna mesin je. Cantik je segiempat tepat dia. Her body was lowered into the ground with my brothers at the receiving end. within minutes my husband managed to arrive after crossing so many states. Ada ‘tal-kin’ from the ustaz on site, with a bit of nasihat. since it is PKP, only 10 family members are allowed at one time to pay respect to the dead. We were less than 10, so no worries. We stayed for a while, baca yassin, siram2 air. Admiring the little tree they picked to mark mummy’s grave. I couldn’t help wondering what is happening to mom at the time.

has the angels come to visit her? Will she be able to answer their questions? How could we help ease her journey in alam kubur as her children?

All urusan yang penting was completed before Zuhur. After that, it is more of paperwork and stuff. Again, another learning process for another day. We came home with black panda eyes and a severe body ache. I had a headache. Relieved with mcdonalds. Saw a few whatsapp and phonecalls from unknown numbers. ni mesti orang2 yang tah pape dpt nombor doktor vaksin nehhhhh.. or abang J&T.

Urusan kematian sangat penat but alhamdulillah, I feel it was Ok for us. I am ever so grateful to have my brothers and my sister. InsyaAllah we will make mom proud to have children like us.

Seniah Part 1

I actually posted this on Facebook. It will be in 3 parts but on second thought, I will share the parts here, in this blog instead of Facebook. My friends would know where to find me (here) if they are keen to know.

Namanya Seniah. Dia Mummy saya.

31 July 1959 – 7 July 2021

This will be in 3 parts. If you can read this, that means you are on my FB list. Means that you prolly have an idea of the type of person I am. Jenis yang sedih pun boleh tgk benda tu mcm kelakar. Tapi benda yang hadap sendiri la.. kita tak ketawakan kisah sedih kehidupan orang lain yer..

PART ONE : Watak bernama Seniah that I call as Mummy. Macam cerita orang2 kaya kat Tv3. Tapi tak kaya sgt.

The memories of myself with my mummy are mostly stored under the HUMOUR tab. She is pretty, smart and a great problem solver in almost always, an amusing way. Maybe sebab tu even though I experience a sad event, still boleh nampak event tu OK dan kelakar. 🌼 She was a very extroverted personShe speaks her mind. Perhaps that is a strong reason as to why I turned out as an introvert. Cause the mummy always speaks for you. Kalau kau itam, memang dia akan panggil kau itam. Generasi skrang mungkin akan cakap dia hina ciri2 fizikal orang tersebut, tapi untuk dia, dan mungkin generasi dia, itu je cara yang obvious untuk describe someone. Dan mereka yang di zamannya mungkin tak tau pun prejudis, diskriminasi dan stereotype tu apa. So forgive them but we should know better not to repeat the same innocent mistake.

Contoh;Mummy, mok berik sapa duit tok?[ mom, who am I giving this money to?]

Ya.. Si Dalan.. Nya botak juak di kedey ya.. Tapi paling itam[to Dalan, he is also bald in that shop but dark skinned]

To my siblings Norashikin Mustapha, Matin Mustapha and @Danial Mustapha who are wondering nok ne Dalan tok, sekda urang nama ya.. contoh jak..

🌼 She was adventurous and always willing to try new things.

She baked a cake from scratch for my birthday party at upland and decorated it with neon-like green and pink icing. I felt like a star!!Once she enrolled in her hairdressing class, she quickly put it to practice. We were abu Bakar Ellah for a month. I think Dora’s creators were also inspired by our haircut and decided to make it come to life decades later.

She sews our uniforms for schools. That is like jimat perbelanjaan already. I told her I wanted pockets for my baju kurung. She said no problem. The next day, I woke up with Doraemon pockets sewn on the side of the baju kurung. Wah.. Baju melayu hybrid. My friends were jealous cause I could fit so many things in there.

She loves Cosway products too – we get to try some nice and not so nice things. I am grateful that my mom makes me try milk. If not my growth spurt would be just as high as tesco nyer troli

🌼 She likes to bring us with her to experience interesting things

Like her weekly cooking class. These ladies make all the nicest stuff and make the children who were tagging along eat it. Makcik2ni suap, kita makan je lah kan.

Her driving sessions were also great. The instructor and mom in front. Me and my sister at the back seat. Sometimes it feels like an F1 race as we go around the corner. Nasib tak muntah. Angol palak jak. If she was an actress, she’d probably land a part in Tokyo Drift.

🌼She is the face of many characters – even a superhero.

Eventhough she did not receive a formal tertiary education, she was able to teach English. She is that smart. Like Sang Kancil. Using Peter and Jane books. She would buy the book one by one with the very limited money she had at the time until it becomes a complete set. Now my siblings can speak English like a Londoner. Wows. Salute my brothers and sister. I still spell ‘Snake Bite’ as ‘Snack bite’ on my prescription.

Once a salesman came knocking on the door. Dad was not home. We were relaxing in the living room watching tv with the door open, grill closed. Zaman tu, salesman berani sikit. Jenis yang sukati bukak pagar and ketuk pintu rumah. Salesman tu dah terpacak kat pintu tu, nasiblah everyone is like berbaju. Cuma mummy tengah terbaring relax  atas sofa.  Mummy senang je, dia malas nak layan, dia cakap dia orang gaji, tuan rumah takde.. Pastu tutup pintu. Wow.. Orang gaji apa tu baring2 kat sofa. Ha ha ha.

She is also a culinary chef. If we say a particular sauce or dish at a restaurant is sedap.. Her answer will be’mmmph.. Mummy molah lagik nayaman.. ‘[ I make it better]Merasalah jadi tester cuisine dia nak buat tu.. Amazingly , most of the time akan jadi. So talented this lady!!

Once, my friends Azah Adam and Fizatul Basri were staying with me during Year 4 of medical school. Sebab kena buat attachment at Putrajaya hospital. The only car we had at the time was a Suzuki, kalau tak silap. It was an old car and one day, it broke down. Di tengah2 rush hour kat traffic light!!! Who do we call? Mummy of course. Within a few minutes, we saw a strange tree floating towards us. It was her. Tgh bawak dahan kayu nak letak atas kereta untuk bagitau kat org lain

‘ budak2 ni kan… Kereta rosak.. Pastu tak tau nak buat apa..duduk je dalam kereta teww’

🌼She is a disciplinarian.

No boyfriends in school. Tiba2 gambar bf darjah 3, kevin tan hock siew, dah takde. Weekdays no TV. Masa makan, MAKAN, jangan baca buku cerita,

“Kelak mummy gantung book ya rah geruk ktk!!” [i will hang that book at your neck] Takut tak.. ?

Masa tu takut, skrang rasa mcm kelakar.

She cannot tolerate us sleeping in too long or doing mindless things in our room. She will conduct a spot check. She would open the door like a SWAT member without the guns. PANGGG.. pintu terbukak luas! Boleh mimpi buruk dibuatnya tiga hari berturut2.

🌼She was a woman with a big heart. A giver.

She is so generous that sometimes she fall for scams. Some harmless, some not. Yet, it does not stop her from always being the one yang hulur dulu or sponsor something. She loves giving gifts. Especially to her children. Sampai ke kita dah beranak pinak pun camtuh. Takde occasion apa. Tetiba je dapat buku. Tetiba je dapat gelang. Telekung. Baju. Dapat cadar. Dapat beg. Sometimes the most random things. Klip rambut. If she had lived in Melaka, agaknya dia tetiba datang kat rumah and letak dalam my peti ais sayur bayam 1-2 ikat.

🌼Above all, she is a social butterfly. Mesra alam. And a kind one too.

Sometimes, from our perspective as children, a bit too trusting of strangers. Very bold. But that is how she is. Pernah sekali, ktorg gi kedai. Tetiba dia nampak NASH. Wahhh.. korang ingat dia ada nak tgk diam2? Takde ok… dia terus “Nashhhhh..”

wah.. gugok jantung kita nengar. sik tauk sine mok tapok muka. pastu tegur sapa macam dah kenal lama. Even within her last few weeks, she was still able to make friends with those who are hospitalized like her. Sharing with them their joy and the burden of the sorrow. Some of her friends, being people we have never met in person but always speaks nicely of her. In fact, after her burial, my siblings were saying there was an accumulation of just over 1000 unanswered messages and phone calls on her phone. That’s a lot of love.

I am sure my brothers and sister, relatives and some of my friends have memories of her too. How could you forget Seniah kan, and aren’t those memories wonderful?

[gambar sebelum dunia kenal apa itu covid – my mum is the one in that pink purple jubah]

May be an image of 6 people, people standing, headscarf and indoor