Farewell Big Brother

“Abah dah meninggal:, she skipped. “Abah dah meninggal”, she hopped. “Abah dah meninggal”, she trotted. It was very hard for me and all the rest of us to contain our tears when Mia, my eldest brother 4-year old adopted daughter went round telling everyone that her dad had died. If you probed further she would innocently described the final moments of how her adopted father’s life ebbed away on Friday mid morning. It was truly harrowing watching her like that. She is in her usual talkative way telling us that her father had passed on. She would continue to play as if nothing had happened. Of course she did not understand the loss we are feeling. Around 10.20am that Friday morning, I was in a meeting when I got a call from my niece. Her speech was garbled with tears. I had to tell her to calm down and talk slowly. Her dad fell and had become unconscious she said. I told her to call the ambulance and I would be there as soon as possible. She already called the ambulance she said but they said they’ll be late. She hang up. I feared the worst. Just I was sliding the redial button a few seconds later my 5th brother called. He said our Abang Tar had passed on. I was numbed dead on my track. By then fortunately the meeting had ended. I quickly gathered my things and rushed downstairs while calling the wife. No response. After three attempts, I texted her the news. The niece called again to confirm the news. All I can advice her at that moment was to get help from the nearest surau or mosque. Every mosque normally had a standing committee to handle death. By the time I reached her apartment, the hearse was ready to move to carry my brother back to our kampung. Apparently it was his request to be buried in Kuang Hilir, our village.
There goes my eldest brother at the age of 67 years, 10 months. A fierce but kind retired army corporal with a typical army booming voice. When he retired some twenty years ago he dabbled in all sorts of things to earn a living. He tried breeding fish, selling at fish at pasar minggu, farming, rubber tapping, and slowly gaining reputation as a formidable chef at khenduris. Later he moved to Sabak Bernam and his reputation as “tukang masak” for weddings and other feasts grown. Last year, her daughter persuaded him and his wife to moved with her. She wanted her parents to relax and sit back taking things easy as age is fast catching up with them. But I reckon, being used to spend time working in the farm and out and about with nature, being cooped up in a 20-storey apartment was not an easy transition.By then his health had been poor. all the more reason for her daughter to ask him to slow things down. Once in a while he would called me up and dropped by the house. It is not easy to please him as far as food is concerned. I remember having to scour almost half of Ipoh to look for nasi kandar Ipoh, the old way. Come to think of it I am glad that I did that for him or else I would have regretted it for the rest of my life. Being the eldest he would always goes out of his way to introduce me to long lost relatives that I normally would not know. He would also rally the family if there is anything important to decide. We would definitely missed him during “khenduri” or durian season for it was during these occasions that he would move to the fore. May Allah blessed him him with all His Grace and place him with the solihin. Now, I can only pray for him. How I wish I had visited him more often or at least check on him ever so often with phone calls. Now, I can only kneel at his grave and cry. Please Allah, forgive my Big Brother and have mercy on him.

One thought on “Farewell Big Brother

  1. Dear Tn Hj ,
    Please accept my heartfelt sympathies for your loss. I wanted to convey my sympathies upon hearing the news from your PA but I just don’t know why I have been postponing. Take Care boss!

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