In the end, I was reminded once again that each life is precious.
Over the past week, I have come to hate my family and love them back forever more. The ordeal which was grandpa’s illness was not one only for him, but for me as well. I came to question the humanity that resides in me and doubt any was there. I came to hate the very being of circumstances, of life and death and prejudice and speculation, and in the end, came to terms with it. I came to accept the weakness that is being me, being human, being part of a family, being part of this vicious cycle of life and death, and came to embrace all that is good and bad about it. I have settled down with fact and end all bickering with it. For now. But for now is good enough. I couldn’t wish for anything more.
Abah didn’t hate grandpa, and I suspect grandpa didn’t too. I came to this realization only yesterday. The false impression I had on them was shattered by honest tears and a smiling face. Perhaps grandpa was abah’s idea of a father to rebel against. He was obedient towards his own father, so obedient it somehow twisted the image of his own father into that of a perfect man. In reality, as I came to know from his siblings, my aunts and uncles with a more objective view, their father wasn’t as nearly as perfect as abah depicted, and this somehow baffles a few of his sisters. Abah had always sucked it up, to bear the burden of order and expectations that his father had on him, and had always prevailed, turning him into perhaps a better man than he was before. “From the moment I could talk, I was ordered to listen..” was a line from Father and Son by Cat Stevens, and that is what abah did with his father, only without the negative connotation.
But with that attitude, with that obedience came the price of not having the chance to experience his own rebellious stage typical of youth. And so, he dragged his rebelliousness to his new father, his father by law, and clashed heads with him in the most subtle of ways. Perhaps grandpa can’t stand that man to be his in-law either, for he was a stern young fella who had always prevailed. Grandpa was not like that in his younger days. He was a tall good-looking guy back in his prime, and was a flirt to boot. He enjoyed young life even though he’s already married. So meeting a man unlike his younger self had made them clash ideas on topics so mundane, you could gloss over it. But the two of them had one similarity that was obvious from the start. They both are headstrong men.
But with time, they came to tolerate and accept each other as is. Sure, they have some complains about the other every now and then, but they learn to get over it. I need to learn from the both of them on this matter. I tend to get it all bundled together until it became a huge hill, it collapse on myself. Oh, the possibilities of grudges. It could fuel you and burn you too.
Perhaps this stage in life was too plain for me, so God decided to throw in a test or two to spice things up. Spicy things are always delicious. I am glad to have been given this chance, this opportunity to struggle and remember what I’ve forgotten, and am even gladder to know that with this breakdown of mind and soul, with the questioning of my own morals and humanity and sanity, I find myself still human and not some robot without feelings. It is perhaps struggles, tests like these that made Bartholomew spawn out those words:
For I have dipped my hands in muddied water, and found ‘tis better to be a commander than a common man.
Only after some sort of peril did he upgraded himself to be of greater status and power. And my own could also be a transformation too.
I was supposed to take over caretaking grandpa yesterday afternoon, but my shift never arrived. By 7.50 in the morning, his pressure started to drop, so was his heartbeat. He had multiple stops before finally reached the terminal at 10 sharp. He didn’t go out suffering. He didn’t look as if in pain. He disappeared faintly, slowly, calmly. My afternoon shift was then turned into grave-digging duty, and by 4 in the afternoon, he was laid to rest, at last.
May you rest in peace, atok. And may your soul be embraced by Allah as one of the faithful.
28th December 2016