Little White Lies -- Tuesday February 19 2008
We've been lying to Bapak about stuff.
We feel really bad for having to do that.
But we reckon that's in his best interest.
Like last Wednesday when we had to rush to Singapore after we were informed that our cousin, Juriah, passed away.
We decided to leave for Singapore in the afternoon. We couldn't leave any earlier. Besides, it would not have made any difference because the funeral and burial would have been over by afternoon anyway. That's Singapore regulations.
Juriah who was my age, died of a heart attack. She had been hospitalised for a bypass, and suffered a stroke after the operation. She was also diabetic.
Juriah was the youngest of Wak Lah's 4 children.
Wak Lah (Kamlah) was Bapak's second eldest sister/sibling.
Wak lah died about 30 years ago. Her husband, Ismail had passed away much earlier.
Juriah's other siblings are Zubaidah (Kak Bedah) , Fatimah (Kak Mama) and Abdul Rahman (Aman).
Kak Bedah was only in her 30s when she died of a heart attack (resulting from a stroke) about 20 years ago.
Aman stayed with us in Petaling Jaya from 1970 to 1973.
Bapak had always been concerned about the academic achievement of his nephews and nieces.
Whenever it was necessary, he would get them to continue their studies in Malaysia.
We have had several cousins staying with us in the 60s and 70s.
Juriah was with us in 1973 when she got a place at ITM (now UiTM) to study Business Studies.
Halfway through, she decided the course was not her cup of tea and returned to Singapore to do something else.
That day when she died. my step-mum, Kak Ton, Nina and I left KL (by car) just after 1.30pm.
We stopped at the Machap rest area (along the highway) for something to eat.
We arrived in Bedok Reservoir (Singapore) via the second link in the evening.
I was driving throughout.
It was either Nina or me. My step-mum and Kak Ton disqualified themselves from being driver for obvious reasons.
I am an okay driver but I am so known for getting sleepy at the wheel when the driving gets too boring or when it is during the afternoon or late at night.
"I'm okay...but I think I'll get sleepy around 3pm and at night, So Nina, you will have to take over," I warned them.
Needless to say, they survived my driving. I never got sleepy and drove all the way to Bedok Reservoir.
We stopped at Cik Ah's house for a little rest. Cik Ah had prepared tea and "makan". After freshening up and Maghrib prayers, we left for Juriah's house in Al-Junid.
After an hour or so meeting Juriah's husband and children, Kak Mama, Aman and our relatives, we left for home.
Nina took over the wheel when we were somewhere near Malacca because I was getting really sleepy.
Earlier, before we left for Singapore, I asked Nina whether Bapak knew about Juriah's passing and that we were going to Singapore.
She said they did not tell Bapak anything, worried that he'd be shocked.
When Kak Eda had a relapse in late 2006 and was hospitalised, she had not been able to visit Bapak. He had asked about her.
We could not tell him that she was terminally ill with cancer. We told him that that she was busy with her kids.
When he wanted to visit her, we told him that she was in Johor visiting Aziz's (her husband) father.
We told Kak Eda that Bapak had been asking about her. So when she was discharged from hospital, she immediately went to see Bapak, before going home.
Later, when she succumbed to cancer and died in March last year, we did not tell Bapak immediately but the day after her death.
We had to find the right time to break the sad news to him and when we did, we had to do so, very very carefully.
When Mak Cik and Nina were ready to leave the house the day Juriah died, they told Bapak that they were "going out".
They had to tell him something.
As far as Bapak was concerned, that day Mak Cik was going to her flower shop and Nina "to the kedai".
Oh, these little white lies.
Won't you forgive us, Bapak....