*Opah on the right, Tok on the left smiling happily :)*
He was a principal of a school in Johor back in the days. Also a teacher definitely sometime in the pass.
Every Raya we would always return to Johor, Serkat in particular to celebrate it with Opah and Omah. Also with other relatives as well, which not all could I actually recall their names and faces. There are just too many of them. Especially when you have grandparents who were teachers; they had many many students coming over, also the whole village were very close with each other. They at least knew who their neighbor was, and hence adding to the confusion XD
Oh and to add to that, most people usually call their grandmother 'Opah', while somehow my siblings and cousins all call our grandfather 'Opah' instead and our grandmother 'Omah'; which some thought I was talking about my grandmother when I used the word opah XD
Well going back to Johor was usually only during special occasions like Raya or weddings; sometimes for sad events like funerals and or when someone was critically ill.
There was this once when Opah got really2 sick, and he was admitted to the hospital for I think at least a few days. Papa stayed back to take care of Opah over the nights at the hospital. Opah had high blood pressure, diabetes and also a weak heart. I think he had a heart attack which caused him to go into the hospital. Doctors had even told us that we should expect the worst. But Alhamdulillah, Opah miraculously survived and was well after a tough battle :')
My weak memory doesn't allow me to remember the details, but I certainly do remember bits of memories here and there of me and Opah.
I remembered that when I was very young, Opah was taking us siblings around the village with his motorcycle. My siblings and I took turns to ride with him, and when it was my turn I was so very nervous. Hugging my Opah's large back from behind, he drove off slowly with me on his bike. It was definitely one of the most thrilling and exciting ride of my young life, though short, but so memorable :)
I also remember him occasionally bringing us to his small farm or what we might call as 'kebun' in his huge backyard. There were certainly a lot of trees as it is a forest right behind his house XD there were chickens, chicken eggs and certainly lots and lots of trees :D There was this once where there were newly hatched chicks, and Opah helped us out to hold the little chicks and they were so adorable!! and very warm too to my surprise :)
Since I am a well behaved-child (yes perasan sekejap :P) I seldom get any scolding from Opah. But I do remember once that I was playing with some of my younger cousins and relatives and they were very very noisy and we got a scolding from Opah XD
It has been a while since the last time I managed to go back to Johor every since I came to the States. It's because Raya was always during my Fall semester classes, which I do not have a chance but to 'skip' going back to Malaysia, celebrating there with family and relatives instead for my education. Alhamdulillah, celebrating Raya here with friends was a very new and fun experience which I will cherish :) however, I certainly do miss celebrating back in Malaysia, with my family, with Johor-ians.
Since then, I was only able to get news of them from my parents. Opah was indeed getting weaker by the day and years even though he managed to get well from the last time he was admitted to the hospital. He was eating a lot of medicine, and he and Omah had to live with my auntie living in Johor for her to keep a close eye on them.
I did go back to Malaysia during my Freshman and Junior year over the summer. But I think I only visited Opah and Omah once during my Freshman year I can't remember for what event (or maybe before I came to the states). I wasn't able to visit them during my junior year because I was back to do an internship in Negeri Sembilan, which really left me only the weekends to spend my time with family and close friends.
Before heading back to the States for my Fall classes, papa asked me to just give Opah and Omah a call, just to let them know I was heading back to the States. I did so and had a nice chat with Opah and Omah. Opah was being cheerful as usual, wishing me all the best in my studies and encouraged me to do my best. He also expressed a little bit of sadness that I wasn't able to visit him during that holidays, and was hoping to be able to see me graduate. But he said something like "entah sempat ke tak ye dapat tengok Yani abiskan belajar..":whether if he could make it to see me graduate. All I could say at that time was (well knowing the optimistic-me) was "insya-Allah, sempat je Opah tengok Yani abis blaja nanti ya."
I usually call my family once a week to keep in touch with them, and one of the calls was when mama told me "We are about to go back to Serkat dear, Opah just passed away." and papa unfortunately was away from home for work, but was on his way back on the very next flight as soon as possible.
*in the mosque/surau*
Alhamdulillah I got to know that Opah was safely buried, and the day was raining lightly; insya-Allah, it will be cooler for him down there.
*Prayers recited after the burial*
I was definitely devastated that I wasn't able to visit Opah before I went back to the States last year; I missed my chance to see him before he passed.
Oh God, this is a tough piece for me to write. Please excuse my tears for a moment.
Of course, I cried after receiving the news, reminiscing on how I should have visited Opah one last time over my last summer. But, after thinking for some time, I think that it might have been better for me to not be able to see him for one last time before I went back. I guess Allah knew that had I been able to see Opah before he passed, I might have cried much more than this. Alhamdulillah, there is always a blessing in disguise no matter how bad the situation may seem to be if you have faith in Him :)
To add to that, I would always say to my friends who have lost their loved ones that we shouldn't be so sad for our loved ones who had passed; we should actually feel a little bit happy for them. This is because their challenges and pain of the temporary world has finally ended, and they have already found peace in the next life. They are one step CLOSER to meeting Allah, to meeting Rasulullah S.A.W. compared to us, still struggling in this world. Insya-Allah, when the day comes, they will also ascend to heaven and be able to meet Allah and Rasulullah S.A.W. :)
And insya-Allah, we will be able to meet them again, in HEAVEN :) so we gotta work hard to be qualified to enter His paradise :)
Death, is something we shouldn't be afraid of, but something we should be looking forward to :)
The day that we are free from our worldly affairs finally, and the day that we are one step closer to Allah and Muhammad pbuh. And hey, we could also finally meet the angel Gabriel/Jibril too! :) Wallahu'alam; only Allah knows the mysteries of the afterlife :)
And my dear Opah has gained his freedom from this world.
Wan Shamsuri bin Wan Abidin, I pray that all your sins will be forgiven and you would be within those who are righteous, and the solehin, insya-Allah. Amin :)
Already missing you,
-Your granddaughter :') <3