Atuk’s passing

Arwah Atuk with Hakim

2 May 2011

After one month and three days battling pancreatic cancer, Atuk passed away last Saturday. Cancer can occur at any age. It was really slow.It was definitely painful to see one’s loved health deteriorate right in front of one’s eyes. There was also anxiety of not knowing how much time was left and what could be done to alleviate the pain. I have great respect for those who cared for Atuk daily – it was not easy.

Being young, we are usually caught up in our own lives. We tend to forget our families and preferred the company of our friends. Hence, I am thankful for Ibu who never fails to remind me about the importance of being there for family members. Ibu is an orphan and the only child. It is definitely no wonder, she puts family first. She will always call/sms me and my siblings whenever something happened. My husband and brother in law call her the Oracle. It’s amazing, 99.7%  she’s always spot on.

Coming back to Atuk, Ibu constantly reminded us to visit him whenever we can. Not an easy feat when your day starts at 5am and ends at 5 pm daily plus you just want to rest after a day’s work. But Ibu always say, money can wait but time cannot.

The past week, Ibu smsed us about Atuk’s condition being critical. We came to see Atuk’s condition for ourselves. It was only a matter of time. Knowing the signs of sakratul maut was indeed helpful. Whispering the syahadah to his ears never fails to bring us to tears. How can one not cry? We found refuge in reading the Quran. But the tears just won’t go away. Every breath he took was not easy but trust me, reading the Quran calmed him. I thanked Ayah for teaching me how to read the Quran. Cancer at age 93 was not easy.

There were times, me and Yan talked to him asking him to let go. I’m so sorry but the pain was too much. Berat mata memandang, berat lagi bahu memikul. Seeing how a cousin of mine changed his dressing with much care and love has changed my view of this one fine young man.

A memory of his last days that will stay with me would be that of last Thursday. It was near maghrib. There were me and my siblings, 2 bibiks and a cousin of mine on duty. We were taking turns  reading the Quran. Even the bibiks. Yan was reassuring him holding his hands before noticing Atuk’s breathing changed. It was IT. In between the syahadahs by my other siblings, Yan was begging him to wait for his other children as the rest of us scrambled to call everyone. We thought that Thursday was his final moment.

Atuk did not go that night. He passed away last Saturday after meeting those he wanted to see and in the company of those who mattered. My siblings and I went back 30 minutes before he died that Saturday. He was breathing slowly and it wasn’t erratic. He looked at peace. I received The Call from my uncle when I was already at home. I did not cry at the break of the news. I was thankful to Allah for making his passing a smooth one.

His passing taught me the importance of being there when it matters most. We will all grow old one day, don’t we want the same thing – die in the presence of our loved ones? Alas, God knows best and what lies in our hearts. Dan sesungguhnya ajal dan maut adalah urusan Allah. Amin.

This note is just my personal recount of what I felt and went through last week. I have no intention to offend anyone. From the point of view of a grandchild who knew her Atuk as her grandfather the storyteller, traveller, adventurer and Allah’s humble servant.

Last quote: “Love is stronger than death even though it can’t stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can’t separate people from love. It can’t take away our memories either. In the end, life is stronger than death.”


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