Monday, 7 March 2005

For Abang

When I was small, I wanted to marry my brother. In fact, I wanted to marry all my cousin brothers, Abang Tam, Abang Mi. There was a legitimate reason for such thoughts of incestuous nature to enter a mind so young. I wanted to look after all of them, care for them in a way that they will never be hurt or be in pain.

Yesterday, I phoned up my eldest brother, now in his sixities. It was late at night in Malaysia. He was not his usual jokey self. In fact, he hasn’t been his old jokey self for sometime now. Usually, I’d chide him for running up my phonebills with his ridiculous jokes. Imagine, if I were to ask him: Abang buat apa? He'd reply: Abang dok ataih kerusi. Duhhh!

Now, his voice is subdued when he speaks and I imagine him sitting in the darkened room of the hospital, holding his wife’s hand. And I was told by my other siblings, he has cried like never before. The one who was so strong for us all, now needs our shoulders to cry on.

My sister-in-law is no longer in pain. The doctor’s advise is just to make her comfortable. The big C got to her in a big way. It is Abang who is now in pain. And it is in moments like this that I want to care for him. But I am so far away. I can’t even talk to him without crying. I can’t offer him wise words to console him during these darkest hours. I can’t even exchange banters which would of course seem inappropriate. All I can offer is my silent prayers.

This is my Abang, who would usually make things seem so funny and trivial. The one who drew moustaches and beard on our faces because we didn’t wake up for sahur. The one who ran away from home and caused Mak so much anxiety. The one who went and stayed with fishermen and went out to sea with them because he wanted to capture the beauty of the sea on canvas. The one who would still tickle us breathless, even now, when we are all already in the autumn of our lives. Mak, on seeing her already quite old children chasing after each other in the house, would aways shake her head and say," Bila laa hampa ni nak besark?"

But Abang made Mak and Pak proud. Inspite of his poor qualification, he was the first to venture overseas. I remember when I needed money to replace a friend's headband that I had lost, he sent me £1...and at that time it was eleven ringgit which could buy me ten headbands. He'd come to London for a conference, and yet spend his free time cooking for me.

Cooking is his passion. Trips back to Alor Star is never the same without him. He'd wake up early, after which, no one else can sleep 'cos he'd make sure we were all up. His tactics, till this day, would be a drip of salt water...drip, drip, drip, into our mouth until we wake up!

He'd go to the Pasar Besar in Alor Star and buy fresh fish to grill. He'd make air asam to go with it. And then cook sayur keladi.

All the while, sis-in-law would be chiding him, nagging him as all wives do and he'd keep a straight face pretending not to listen, which would of course drive her mad.

A month ago, when sis-in-law knew her time was up, she told my other siblings. "Abang tu orang baik".

I hope she told him as well.

And Abang, I can't marry you. I know you still think of me as your little sister and in case you have not noticed, I married someone else. I can't take away your pain, but I can still care for you.


budakkampong said...

kak teh,

i hope everything goes well and i pray and sure hope for the best for your brother and your sister-in-law.

nefertiti said...

kak teh,
a very touching one...for a very special person..being someone who has weathered many storms, i hope that he'll pull through this tumultuous one..hang in there.

d'arkampo said...

kak teh,


i pray for him, his wife, his kids and you...

be strong...

Susan Abraham said...

Kak Teh,
This is so sad but at the same time through its tears, so inspiring. It speaks of true love.
How can I even offer words that would be of any consolation? I pray for your entire family that whatever the journey that awaits, just know that God goes with you all.

SC said...

kakteh, i cannot stop my tears from falling. the effect of the C phenomenon on the family is like the stinging tentacles of a diaphanous jellyfish. the slightest touch is poisonous enough to incapacitate the strongest among us. shud u need to talk to anyone about this, i'm here ok. my family is currently trodding the same path as your every obstacle there is a redeeming factor.Allah is kind.

Jiwa Rasa said...

Kak Teh,

If I could share this quotes from a friend who also had that big-C.

God grants me
the serenity,
to accept things I cannot change,
the courage
to change the things I can,
the wisdom to know the difference.

MakNenek said...

salam kak teh
sedih i dengar tentang Abang you. macam2 dugaan u kebelakangan ni. harap kak teh bersabar ye. dan update kalau kalau ada berita dari sana,

atenah said...

may Allah helps your brother and sis in law in their time of hardship. aaaaah Life

serenada said...

kak zah,

Please know that your family have my dua. It is a very difficult period for you but based on your blog and our meeting in Paris, you are a survivor. Your family need you to hang in there for them, k? Should you need to share, we will be here for you.

shidah said...

kak teh, wishes u all the best for u, your family and esp your borther..... amin

Lollies said...

I don't have a brother myself..

However, I think kudos to your parents for bringing up all of you siblings well.

I hope all my kids are like hat even when I am not around

Mutiara said...

Kak Teh
hanya doa yang dapat saya sampaikan. Saya faham kerana telah melaluinya. Sabar dan relakan.

AuntyN said...

Kak Teh
Be strong, insyaallah itu ganjaran untuk yang menanggung.

Kak Teh said...

salam to all and thank you for kind and comforting words. Thank you too for your doa's.

MA said...

Kak Teh,

I am close with my brothers, but I wished I am as close as you are with yours !

My prayers are with your Abang and SIL, and you, too.

Yasmin's Mummy said...

Kak Teh, sorry to hear about your SIL.

Atok said...

semoga aman damai dan sejahtera hendakNya.

Kak Teh said...

MA, Yasmin's mum and atok...thanks. and salam

atiza said...

take care kak teh..
our words and doa might not be enough to eradicate the pain but i hope at least it could reduce it somewhat..

About Blogreader said...

Take care of your big brother.

crimsonskye said...

to have someone who loves us.. that's the best thing that could happen.

my prayers for yours and their strength.

Kak Teh said...

Salam atiza, blogreader and Crimsonskye - thanks again. It's good to be able to share with all of you.

nuriyah said...

kak teh,
being far away is so difficult sometimes. big hugs, lots of love x

Kak Teh said...

nuriyah: thanks and how true!!! Lama tak nampak?

NajMie said...

kak teh, words fail me. I wish I had an abang, but judging from all the 3 younger brothers I have, i have to be careful what I wished for. Hope your sister in law finds it bearable. Gosh I've seen it many times but never from the relatives point of view.

Captain Barbell said...

ni sikit2 nak 'electra complex' ni ;)

Kak Teh said...

najmie - thanks . The only consolation is that she is not in pain. but latest news is that she is bleedinginternally and to help her breathe, they have to tap out water from lungs.
paul: thansk..)

Ms.B said...

Darn. When I read this earlier, there were barely 5 comments on. Then when I wanted to leave a comment after your heartwrenching account of your brother and sis-in-law's great time of difficulty, Blogger's Comments function wasn't working. Now, when I find time to pop by, I dah lupa dah what words of wisdom I want to write and there's already like, a million people here already. LOL

So I instead reproduce the poem below which I got via email recently. It's comforting to read in times of great difficulty, and more importantly, to know that HE knows best. :)

My love, prayers and compassion to you, your brother and his dear wife.


Ms.B said...

Allah Knows Best

Allah knows what's best for us
So why should we complain

We always want the sunshine
But He knows there must be rain

We always want the laughter
And the merriment of cheer

But our heart will lose their tenderness
If we never shed a tear..

Allah tests us often
With suffering and with sorrow

He tests us not to punish us
But to help us meet tomorrow

For growing trees are strengthened
If they withstand the storm.

And the sharp cut of the chisel
Gave the marble grace and form

Allah tests us often
And for every pain He gives to us

Provided we're patient
Is followed by rich gain..

So whenever we feel
That anything is going wrong

It is just Allah's way
To make our spirit strong.

"..and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know."(2:216)

Kak Teh said...

salam blabs, that's a beautiful prayer and thanks.
Thank you all.