That was all I could muster and send to some of the numbers on my mobile. Forgive me if I didn't send you a message personally and also for not replying the hundreds of messages, emails, blog comments and missed calls.
Thank you for all the support, encouraging words and condolences, though some have sent me text messages without leaving a name. Thank you friends, for doing the necessary.
Let me now give the details of what happened on 29th October, 2007.
On Sunday night I did not accompany my late husband at the hospital because a visitor from afar had come late in the night and had to head for London very early the next morning.
After sending the children to school on Monday, I made my way to the hospital with my in-laws. I also made arrangements for a friend to pick the children up from school and bring them to the hospital later. It was Mr D's birthday, you see, so I wanted everyone to be there with him.
When we arrived at the hospital, Mr D sat slumped on the chair, hardly aware of his surroundings. I whispered Happy Birthday Cayang... in his ears. The pillow that supported his back was all drenched as the tube that drained the fluid from his stomach had leaked, or so we thought. When Jonathan, the nurse, came in to check his blood pressure, I told him to have a look at the tube. We discovered that it had actually come off. He was cleaned and changed into a different pyjama.
Later, David, the doctor, came for his rounds and informed us that both Mr D's blood pressure and haemoglobin were low. He recommended putting him on drips and 3 bags of blood. Again, he was poked and probed just to get the right vein.
By then, it was almost noon. I had to rush to the airport to pick my brother-in-law, Abang Hashim. I brought him straight to the hospital to meet Mr D and do the needful. Mr D was happy that Abg Hashim was there. Although his vision was all blurry already (effects of all the drugs), Abg Hashim's presence was much felt by him.
He even asked me, Where's Abah?
I said, There, over that side.
But he said again, No, your abah.
Oh, he's coming tomorrow, Cayang.
At one time, Mr D tried to get up from the bed and get into his slippers.
Where do you want to go, Darling? I asked.
We were surprised. All the while he's been in the hospital, he only performed his prayers on the bed or chair. We were the ones who went down to the ground floor to perform our prayers.
No, cayang, you don't have to. Just do it here. Do your tayamum and stay here.
My mother-in-law then added, Furthermore, you've got wires all attached. How are you going down?
He just nodded.
We waited at the hospital for the children to come. At around 4pm, they arrived, all noisy and cheerful. Little D was excited and asked for the cake, to give to his beloved daddy. But Mr D was very weak. He was sitting upright on the bed, only half-conscious of what was going on. I asked the children to whisper their birthday wishes into their daddy's ear. One by one, they went. My mother-in-law cut the cake and distributed them to all but Mr D didn't have any. He hadn't eaten for almost 3 days. I cut 3 slices of the cake and gave them to the doctor and nurses at the front desk. It's his birthday today, that's why I've brought the kids here. They understood and came in to wish Mr D Happy Birthday too.
Then, we discussed who was going to stay with Mr D at the hospital that night. Both my in-laws wanted to stay and I agreed. I headed home, leaving my mother-in-law with my dearest, as I was coming back with my father-in-law later.
After dinner, we got ready to go to the hospital. Then, it struck me - I can't leave both my parents at the hospital. When the children go to school tomorrow, I can't be alone with my brother-in-law. So, I told my father-in-law and we then decided that my mother-in-law will stay at the hospital that night.
After leaving the children with the list of things-to-do-before-you-go-to-bed and a jet-lagged brother-in-law, we dropped by a friend's house to pay our respects. His mom who had suffered cancer for 9 years had passed away the day before.
As we reached the hospital, I had a few friends from university over. My mother-in-law wasn't happy to be left alone. She told me that the nurse advised for me to be with him at all times. My mother-in-law also said that while we were away, Mr D has asked to go to the surau again.
The nurse later dropped in and pulled me aside, He's probably going in 24 hours time...
I understood what she meant. I had seen it myself. He was too much in pain, that they had to drug him that much. I had cried so much within the few days, just looking at him. I then decided that the three of us had to be there with him. So, I called up Dr S's husband, M, and asked him to come to the hospital to bring Twin H home. I also made arrangements for a friend to fetch my dad from the airport the next day. I called up another friend, who was the closest neighbour, and asked her to help check on the kids the next morning.
That night, when we read Mr D the Yaasin and recited the kalimatullah with Mr D, he responded full-heartedly. We always came and read him the verses from the Quran but usually he'd follow us in whispers and probably fall asleep in between. That night, it was different. Though his voice was hoarse and his words slurry, he read along in a loud voice. Yaasin...
After a point, he only followed the zikr I often chanted with him, Lailahailla anta subhanaka innikuntuminazzolimin, and I followed him. I read the surah lazims with him and the ayatul kursi. My father-in-law sat at the end of his feet, reading Al-Waqiah.
At moments, his mind drifted away, and he said things that made no sense. But once, he asked, Nak ikut jalan mana ni? Yang ni ke ni? And I said, Ikut jalan Allah...Ikut jalan Allah saja... I feared that the devil had come to confuse him but I knew that he would know which path to choose.
We had read him the quranic verses for almost an hour, when suddenly he fell quiet. I saw it coming. The angel had come, and I knew. I read the syahadah close to his ear, repeating continuously. It happened in only a few minutes, and he was then gone... I glanced at my mobile, it was 10.50pm. I kissed him and I told him, it's okay, Allah knows best.
It was then that I began to send text messages to my sister back home and some friends.
In moments, friends made their way to the hospital. We sat and discussed the proceedings for the following day, with some local friends. My decision was simple: to have things done as smoothly and as quickly as possible. I am not bothered much about culture or traditions, and do not like to create disagreements or disputes. I explained to the Malay community that we'll have to respect the local community and follow through with whatever they decide.
We went back home at 4am and I had a couple hours of sleep. My in-laws didn't. When it was time for Subuh prayers, I woke Twin Z up. I then sat him close by my side and told him what had happened. He was surprised. Tears flowed down his cheeks.
Later, Twin H came back from the sleep-over. He was already sobbing. I hugged him and told him that Allah loves his dad and has taken him to jannah. The other two then woke up and again, I explained it to them.
Alhamdulillah, everything else went smooth sailing. A relative, K , from London, took the lead confidently and coordinated well with M. Initially, the washing up of the deceased was led by a local, but then when he saw Abang Hashim doing a very good and thorough job, he let Abang Hashim do it our way, with the Malay community.
Surprisingly, once it was done, I was called in with my mother-in-law, girl and youngest. The night before, we were advised to wait out of the mosque compound, as ladies were not allowed anywhere within the mosque area. Somehow, the doors were all open for us then. In fact, it was left open for all visitors, men and women, to have a last look at.
The next worry was to have my dad arrive on time - before the body is wrapped up for the prayers, and then to the grave yard. After the Zuhr prayers, the men began to make their way to the body. I begged Brother Yusuf to give us another 5 minutes because I knew dad was just around the corner. Praises to the Almighty, Abah managed to have a last look at my dearest.
We followed the procession to the grave yard but waited out the gates. Remember, ladies were not allowed in. However, as soon as they laid the coffin in and buried it, we were again beckoned. The men were still there and yet we were allowed to come in. I was surprised.
All in all, my late husband, Hazlishah Abdul Hamid (aka Mr D) went peacefully and very quickly. I believe that Allah has set the best for us all, and in Him we all trust.