Abah is what I called my late father in law. He was a person with a strong personality and his presence would never go unnoticed. Through out my married life I have grown to love this man who was well reputed to not show his love and concern in the open but more in his gestures and in a diary (we only found this out after his demise).
Conversations and discussions with him can be a tad difficult at times but this was mainly due to his British education backgrounds having attained his basic degree in London , post-degree in Bristol and dip-ed in Kirkby, which caused him to frequently come up with archaic colonial ideas. None the less, there are topics which I find easily agreeable, a topic which he would rave on, that is, how practical and reasonable the British education system is or was, back then.
Abah had lived a long fulfilling life, just like his mother and his was a colorful one I daresay. Having a grand-father who was a warrior to the former Sultan of Pahang and a father who was a leader figure in Tembeling, Jerantut, Abah had no problem in continuing their legacy. However, Abah had to endure a relative difficult childhood as his father had died young , leaving behind a young wife, whom, due to some misunderstanding with her in laws, had decided to return to Kuantan, where her parents was, with her small son. Thus began, our renowned family saga of how Abah and his mother had traveled up the Pahang river on a small sampan for days, an embittered widow and an orphan who was clueless of what awaited him in Kuantan.
I know I am not the best person to write a bout Abah. I am writing bits and pieces of what he had oft-repeatedly told me. As I write I can still reminisce his voice, his gesticulations and his favorite phrase to reiterate his point: “Awak faham dok?’ or “Do you understand?’ when his British tongue got hold of him. After his heart bypass, Abah had sort of developed a coarse high pitched voice which stayed with him till his last breath. “Suara abah boleh baik tak Roza?’ “insyaAllah Abah tapi lambat sikit la’, I replied. During his final days, he phoned me to inquire about his hospital follow-up but I had difficulty in discerning his words. I knew it was exasperating for him and for me, too.
Whatever Abah lacked in bringing up his children, he squared it up on his grandchildren. He was a doting grandfather to my children, having looked after them when we were busy studying and working. Of late, he was so besotted with Hasya, hubby’s niece who lives in Kuching, that her phone-calls and home-coming would brighten his days. He waited eagerly for Hasya’s return few days ago, spent the night with her and breathed his last the next morning during his routine dialysis treatment. And I wonder if he had begged Allah swt to let him see his favorite grand daughter before he goes?
The morning that he would leave us, I had gone to fetch him for his routine dialysis. Due to a recent spine fracture, he was bed-ridden and couldn’t walk. We had to carry him from the room to the car. As I was lifting his body from the bed, he had held on tight to me a moment longer than usual. Was he trying to gesture his goodbye to me? Allahu’alam. I would like to think so.
Abah, forgive me for all the wrongs I have done you. May Allah swt bless your soul with His Rahmah and protect you from the fitnah of afterlife. Ameen.
*Abah passed away on Thursday 25th November at 11.20am. Innalillahiwainnailaihirojiun