Its been a week and I am still waking up at 1 am and by 3pm I can't keep my eyes open anymore. So, what do I do? I surf blogsites and found enough inspiration to start this one. Really, really inspired by Jalan-jalan, MokcikNab, Pok ku and many others and I thought, why not? Yeah, why not and this is why not...I've been sitting here staring at the page for the past half an hour - and not know how to start.
Okay - I will dedicate this first posting to Mak.
This time last week, I was at KLIA with the usual crowd of siblings, inlaws, nieces and nephews and most importantly my mother, who, bless her, recovered and was strong enough to be wheeled to the airport to see me off. Mak was the reason I rushed back a month ago, leaving spouse, children and cats to fend for themselves in the bleak winter that is London.
Being away from home, one of the fears that prey on your mind, was that phone call in the middle of the night. Mine came, not in the middle of the night, but early one autumn morning as I was trudging off to work. It was big sister number two. She didn't start with the usual, "Listen!...blah, blah, blah!" Instead, she cried and in the background I could hear the recital of Surah Yassin. She didn't need to say anymore.
Mak had always been been small, petite even. But the person I saw lying almost flat on the bed, strategically already facing 'that' direction, was just skin and bones. Tears streamed from her jaded eyes as she acknowledged my presence. The missing piece in the family jigsaw is back in place.
That night, severely jetlagged, I was handed over the task to look after her. My siblings were all worn out after several sleepless days and nights. I was asked to sleep on the floor, next to her bed, the logic of which became apparent several nights later, when I didn't and she rolled off the bed and landed on the floor!
More of that later...
Mak is a fighter. There's no doubt about that. This scene unfolding before my eyes had been played and replayed several times, especially after Tok's passing away some years ago. In fact, everyone yang sewaktu dengannya, have gone. But everytime we thought she was going to leave us, and after I made my dash across the world home, she recovered. This time is no different. In fact, the next morning, she declared she wasn't going to use the diapers anymore. She was going to walk to the toilet, aided, of course. There's no lacking of assistants for this task - everyone including four year old Hilman (Cik Wang Cik Tok)would volunteer. Mak has always been surrounded with love - if anything, too much. As the eldest child, she gave so much to her brothers and sisters as well as nieces and nephews, not to mention strangers who came a knocking on her door. That frail shoulder used to be the place for people to cry on. Now they are back in droves to visit her and pamper her and massage her arms and legs and comb what little hair she has left.
Sometimes, I just looked from a distance or better still, through the lense of my video camera. I admit I can't look after her the way my siblings and even my in laws do. Distance and time had seen to it that I can only watch from afar. Once I am back in my own home, I'd watch the videos again and cry silently at my own inability to do more than that.