Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Sun Still Shines....

The last day of Ramadhan, we left Bapak's house way past midnight. Funny...but it is still Bapak's house to me. Or to Adel, Shaira and their cousins, it's Datuk's house.

Way past midnight because of the customary odds and ends, the Raya eve rituals. Sounds like a whole lot to do but, honestly, because there are just so many of us, the labour is always pretty decently divided.

And as always (since Mak and then Kak Piah's passing) Kak Olin did all the cooking -- the dishes for our traditional Raya fare of lontong.

It was not easy to feel down and sombre at Ramadhan's end. Neither was it easy to forget that this Eid, a person so important and riveting to all of us, is gone.

But, it's the togetherness that lends so much meaning to the occasion. Always has been.

The haunting -- always haunting to me -- call of takbir on first of Syawal reverberated through all of last night.
It seemed more palpable this time that I was momentarily shaken and gripped the edge of my bed. I sat and wept...but only a little.
Never happened before.
So quickly I dried my tears lest Adel and Shaira caught me.

Dawn prayers needed to be performed before sunrise.
Already fierce shades of amber were splashing in the dark sky.

This Eid, I am an orphan. A "yatim piatu". In mid-life, I am an orphan.

Are they all feeling the same? I found myself asking this question.

But there was no time to ponder.

Got the kids ready to visit Bapak, Mak and Kak Piah at the Kiara cemetery. Kak Eda is at the USJ cemetery.

Several times, I blinked my eyes. Bapak, bapak, bapak. Deal with it. He's gone. Gone. He's six feet under, remember?

I remember. I know. I know.

Yes we all know.

They-- my siblings -- are clever. They always make their visit to the cemetery on the eve of Raya to avoid the crowd on Aidilfitri. They know that this place would be crowded and needed to avoid the crowd.

Perhaps, they needed the quiet to recite the Yassin and offer prayers to Bapak, Mak and Kak Piah.

They needed the privacy . They needed to be alone.

Me? I don't fancy crowded cemeteries either. But I make my visits just after dawn on the first of Syawal.

Bapak's grave has somewhat "settled" which means that soon we will be making arrangements to have the "stone" built.

It would be a simple one, we all agreed. Not the fancy granite or marble.

"You know that's not Bapak... he wouldn't have it."

It'll be made of wood. Cengal wood. Nothing fancy.

At Bapak's -- there I go again -- at our family home in Section 16, everyone was already gathered to begin our Eid celebration.

Kak Olin was preparing the "lodeh" which -- due to its "santan" content -- has to be cooked only on Raya morning.

Once that was over and done with, we gathered in the living room for the "ampun, maaf" ritual. And for the kids, the giving of "duit raya".

Without Bapak as the focal point, our eldest sibling, Kak Ton had to take his place, with Abang Med by her side, and then Kak Olin and so on in order of seniority.

It was a very emotional occasion.

But, sometimes, I think we surprise ourselves. We were under control. A little display of emotion was very much excused.

Oh, why not? Let there be tears. Just don't overdo it.

How wonderful that while we are still in mourning, we are able to celebrate the spirit of Eid.

Bapak's room is brightly-lit. The televison is always on until bed-time.

You'll not only find the kids lounging in his room, or lying on his bed.

It is aidilfitri. It is another glorious and blessed month.

Yes, we miss our beloved Bapak. No words can describe our sense of loss.

As someone said: "the experience of grief is a great gift....for the heart that breaks is just opening again."

Bapak is in us. We need courage and strength to keep his memory alive.

So, for us....the sun will never cease to shine...


Anonymous said...

Kak Ena,

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri, maaf zahir batin.

Anonymous said...

My eyes swelled reading your post. Yes, Bapak is gone but we have to live with his memories. Semoga Allah s.w.t. mencucuri rahmat ke atas roh "Bapak" dan meletakkannya di kalangan orang-orang saleh. Selamat Hari Raya Eidul Fitri. Maaf Zahir dan Batin.

Anonymous said...

Salam Aidilfitri to you & family Nuraina. I can "feel" your sadness, but as they say, berat mata memandang berat lagi bahu memikul... life goes on and I hope Allah swt. will give you the strength to go through the days ahead.

The Fairy said...

..And the sun in your heart will continue to shine when you allow it.

Selamat Hari Raya to you and the family, Kak Ena.

May the Almighty grant you unbridled strength and courage in the days and years to come.

Anonymous said...

There is this old American Native poem which has often reminded me of those whom brought me up and educated me, to whom I greatly berhutang budi. To whose memories I strive to apply the lessons they taught me, the ideals they inculcated in me...

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

Unknown said...

This year is the 1st year that my wife celebrates raya without her mother who passed away on Chinese New Year day. She cried the day before raya, like you, just a bit. This year is the 2nd year I celebrate raya without my eldest brother and no, I don't cry anymore, all I have are fond memories. Of course there is that heart tugging loneliness but no more tears.

Anonymous said...


Selamat Hari Raya and my heartfelt
condolence to you and your family.
Take care.

inderjeet kaur

TPJ said...

You have a wonderful family and the silaturrahim is lively.

My siblings and I were orphaned since 1982. We have continued the Raya ritual or celebrations at our family residence in Johor.

After 26 years, we still feel like our parents are still with us.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Maaf Zahir dan Batin.

Anonymous said...

Kakak Nuraina

Your post is very touching and sad to read. You touch on a very fundamental matter about how we all become 'anak yatim' at some stage... it is a very strange and alienating stage............ I can really feel the heaviness of your feelings for Pak Samad here..... Take care and wishing u a peaceful Raya....

Anonymous said...

Chengal naturally will leave dark stain marks on the ground if left to weather. Use other type of really hard wood, maybe teak (jati) or red balau.

Anonymous said...

hi ena,

i knew your raya would subdued but not sombre. the pak samad genes wouldn't allow it. ;D

great to hear you and family had a wonderful one, regardless.

as one who has been yatim piatu for a while now, i'd like to share another positive thing about it. i feel so comforted knowing who are waiting for me on the other side.

On this holy day, Al-Fatihah to all those whom we love who have left before us.

Anonymous said...

Sis Ena
Selamat Hari Raya and Maaf Zahir Batin. I now chant the haunting takbir as a lullaby to put Elham to sleep. After we decided not to renew the service of our Indonesian maid, the task of putting Elham to sleep now rests wuth me since the start of the Hari Raya break. And the takbir works wonder. I suspect the "walillah ilham" bit does the trick.

Old Fart said...

Salam Aidil fitri...

Really, he may have left this world. But his life was one to celebrate. Not mourned. I have found a lot of solace taking that attitude with my loved ones who have left before me.

halimah said...

Yes Nuraina - we grieve and keep their memory alive in our own way!

As they say siblings may come from the same two parents but each is infused with his/her own personaly, character, thoughts, dreams and interpretations of reality.

But what is important to keep the family solidarity, values and heritage alive is a pivot - a member who has the strength and courage (and time) to do this.

This is sometimes more heart wrenching than death!

But I do agree the Hari Raya mood and spirit is a great pacifier and unifier!


Hi&Lo said...


The quote, "Grief is a gift..." is very profound. Pain is not pleasant, but it exists for a reason. To escape from pain is not mature. In itself it sobers us that we need each other in the journey called life.

A life without pain is dangerous to a person. He lacks humanity.

In the West, there's a pill for every pain. Psychotropics sells very well as it dulls the emotional pain. Over the long term the payback is more than the therapeutic.

Lepers have lost all senses of pain so much so that they hurt themselves without realising.

I don't think there is such thing as overdisplay of grief. It's also a kind of personal death cos a part of us died with the person.

But grief without hope is the greatest tragedy. As Mekyam said, we will one day be reunited with our loved ones who had gone before us.

Anonymous said...

I don't know you but when I read your blog, which I do every other day now, I felt sad too BUT I admire you and your family's rememberance and love for your dad. This shows how well you and your siblings have been brought up and the values instilled in all of you ... of the respect for your parents.

Rest assured, Pak Samad may be gone, but his spirit and guiding light will always be there for all of you.

Take care and have a good Raya!

Mrs Yong

Saraswathi said...

This is so touching...yes, those who are close to our hearts will remain such as long as we are still alive to carry the memories.

Ahmad A Talib said...


We can never get over the loss of a father. I know the pain, the longing, the silent tears. Al-Fatihah.

Anonymous said...


At least you still have other siblings behind you. Me? I am all alone. Totally. Naturally.

Please, do take care


Anonymous said...

slamo alikom sister i wanna contact you for something important ..
so do you have e-mail or something to send you that ..

thanks in advance

Anonymous said...


No problem...but perhaps you could tell me or at least indicate to me, who you are....

thank you!

Anonymous said...

Kak Ena,

Selamat Hari Raya to u and ur family... God bless....


Anonymous said...

Nuraina, what happened to ur beloved hero anwar ibrahim? Buat malu je.

Anonymous said...


Selamat Hari Raya. Maaf Zahir Batin. What about Puan Sri Habibah? Was she there celebrating Raya with all of you? Just curious since you did not mention about her on your raya posting.

ibu,mommy,mom... said...

Eventhough I dont know you or your bapak personally,I shed a tear reading your post about your bapak.
Salam Aidilfitri to you.
I love the way you write


anti-rpk --

what about my beloved hero, anwar ibrahim?

tell me.



my step-mum moved to her own house in Damansara Utama in the week following Bapak's passing away.

She has had the house for quite some time now. It is near her business operation (she runs a florist there.)

Anonymous said...

A'kum Ena,
salam idil fitri from one middle aged orphan to another...this is also my first Hari Raya without my father who left us in March this year, almost 5 years after Emak left us. I found great comfort in being able to visit both of them on pagi raya as their pusaras are side by side, and apart from the customary doas and yasin, I actually talked to both of them. It was as though they could hear me, and I could sense their words of comfort.

So I can understand your grief, it will take a while, a long while.

Take care, Azmi

Anonymous said...

happy belated raya. u made me wanna cry, reading this. U know nuraina, i've been a yatim-piatu in so many ways, so i know how u feel.

Theta said...

Kak Ena,

A belated Raya wish to you and your family.

I'm at a loss for words reading this poignant piece. Nonetheless, I can tell that your strong sense of family has made it somewhat easier for all of you to go through the process of grieving.

May your kinship continue to strengthen till Kingdom come.

mutalib saifuddin said...

firstly, happy belated raya, maaf lahir dan batin, kak ena..

reading through your post...yes, we too would visit Kiara cemetery on Raya eve or before that. once, we went on raya..and it was horrific! ramai orang! going to pakcik tongkat's grave is the easiest- not far from the gate.

i know what you feel kak ena..eid without bapak this year. stay strong!

n looking forward for MRT sometime...

Anonymous said...

Kak Nuraina,

Selamat hari raya, minal aidin wal faizin. Maaf zahir dan batin.

May Allah will give u n yr loving family strength n courage for the days to come.


Anonymous said...

sorry 4 the lost..i'm sure he was very proud to have a doughter who follows his footstep..send my regard to ur niece, rosdina..i'm her x-schoolmate..selamat hari raya