July 10, 2020

The Four Funerals

I wrote this in 2014. It took me almost six years to publish this. I dunno why I didn't publish this earlier.. I should write down all my memories here before I forget them. I dont ever want to forget them.


My first time experiencing funeral happened when I was 10. It was my grandfather's. I remember waking up in the middle of night, watching my mom sobbing hard in the kitchen, tightly hugged by my dad. As a kid, that particular moment didn't mean anything much to me. Seeing my mom crying hard like that had me thinking, what's going on here, should I perhaps be crying too? We went back to my grandparent's house that night, and I recalled seeing my Atok's body, lying cold in what had been a place for me and siblings sleep every time we went back to kampung, a middle room between serambi and the back hall. My Atok passed away due to a deadly snakebite. According to my uncle, they both went for a fishing trip, and it happened when he was trying to 'scoop' the fishes with his 'nyiru' basket, when the snake came out of nowhere and bit him. 

It all happened in the month of Ramadan. And all he wanted was just to catch some fish for buka puasa, and little did he knew that those fishes that he piled in that big, red pail were used for his own kenduri tahlil :( And the most part that I couldn't forget were those moments before he was buried. Everyone who knew him left sorrowful pecks on his cheeks as goodbyes, and I remember my confused self refused to do so. I don't know... but I guess being ten is one of the reason why. 

Skipping to a couple of years ahead, came my second funeral encounter. It was my grandfather's mother, my moyang. I remember her fair, bright face and small, almost nenek kebayan-figure. She passed on because of her age which some said closer to being a centenarian, wallahualam... I remember seeing my first kapan process (as a muslim, it's compulsory for us to clean the deceased and wrap him/her in a long piece of white cloth before we sent them for burial) Again, I didn't cried at that time because, honestly, I admit that I felt embarrassed to show that kind of emotions to the crowd. A big dusssh to the blunder old-me.

My third funeral was my Uncle's. He was my only uncle that I really felt close to (on my father's side). He had a heart attack. I was in my uni years (the event actually took place about eight years after the last funeral I've attended). I remember waiting my dad in my uni lobby, with my friends, ready for Penang. And I still remember the cold silence and sight of sadness on each corner, once I reached there. I could see his body in the middle of the hall, covered in white piece of cloth, circled with closed relatives, in a hot and compact room, filled with people all over the place. I politely make my way into the crowd to reach him. His face was calm. Said my goodbye to him, salam few relatives there and ended up in my aunt's hug. I cried this time... He showed plenty of kindness toward me and my siblings every time we went back to Penang. I could never ever forget him.

It was a long period of time before my fourth funeral encounter came. And it happened on the last day of 2013. First January 2014. Little did I know that I would start my new year with such heartache news. It was my aunt, my one and only Mak Andak. My first funeral as a grown-up. Probably the hardest and longest weep I've ever done in my life. There's a particular kind of sadness, different from the one I had in previous funerals... it's hard to explain it here. I still sob for her to this day. I just couldn't believe that she's no longer with us... she's the only Aunt that I'm closest to on my mother's side. 

"Kita buat dia" was her way of saying that nothing is impossible, everything can be fixed. I love her caring, motherly side.. her jokes, and she not pretentious.. and I like her name-Julia. May she rest in peace in her slumber world now. I always pray for you, Mak Andak, till today. May we see each other soon on the good side one day k, Amin. 

Every soul will taste death (3:185) 

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