Monday, July 20, 2009
Bon Voyage, Dear Captain...
My cousin, Kamal or Atan as we fondly call him, was a good friend of Captain Yusof's (picture). Atan is a nautical or marine engineer or something. They met years ago, somewhere at sea, I presume.
Yesterday (Sunday) Atan called me to ask me whether it's true that Captain had passed away.
I happily told him: "Bukan dia, Ibu dia yang meninggal."
I was remembering Elviza's text message to me last Tuesday after she received mine telling her that Captain's mother had passed away.
Elviza saw the words "captain" and "passed away" but missed the word "mother". For a second, she thought the worst, that Captain Yusof had passed away. Her heart missed a beat. But she was so relieved after reading my message again.
We exchanged smiley smses, quietly laughed about it.
"No, Captain is fine..."
A while later after Atan's call (yesterday), I received a text message from Halimah Said, telling me that Captain had died.
Again, I "corrected" her to say that it was his mother....
Not a moment too soon, she called me to say that he had passed away in the night and as we were speaking his remains were being prepared to be taken to Seremban.
I was shocked. It must be a mistake.
"His mother just died....we just met him on Tuesday at the funeral...", I kept muttering...
Still refusing to believe, I did the darnest thing -- I called his number twice. Both times, I got the voicemail. I wished I had his wife's number or any of his children's.
I had to rely on our friends for confirmation.
I am still so sad. We will miss him dearly and especially on Tuesdays when a few of us meet for mee rebus at Kak Ton's.
He was a wonderful listener. I love his swashbuckling tales of the sea....his sometimes ribald jokes.
I would send him a text message Monday evenings to remind him about mee rebus. He'd never fail to give a prompt response -- "okay, see you there" or "sorry, I am still in.....".
Last week he responded, a little late: "Sorry, won't be able to make it today, because my mother passed away."
So we went to Seremban late Tuesday morning to pay our respects.
We got to meet his wife and children as well as his close relatives.
Captain was chatty, telling us about how his mother had not been well and he had been travelling to Serermban for her.
We told him that we never knew he still had his mother around given that all of us younger ones had lost ours years ago...
He spoke about how his mom's house would now be empty because all the kids had left the nest, and there'd be no one around.
He told us about his son's wedding. "You bloggers are invited," he said with a grin.
His final words to us before we took our leave: "See you next week for mee rebus...."
Bon voyage, dear Captain. It was your time. To Him you came and to Him you return.
May you rest in peace. We will miss you. And I will miss reading updates of your postings in your blog which I so enjoy reading.