Sunday, June 29, 2008


"What does cancel mean Umi?" asked my little butterfly.

"Cancel?" I asked her back, for confirmation.

"Yes, what does it mean?" she asked again. What an odd question to ask. Cancel.....hmmm. They like to ask me all sorts of questions. This is nothing more than the usual (or the usual unusuals).

"Lets see...." as I searched my head for the right words an 8 year old would understand.

"Cancel is like when you had planned something, and then changed your mind. Whatever you had planned didn't happen. So, it was canceled."

I looked at her, hoping to see signs of understanding in her facial expression. Unfortunately, I only saw her forehead wrinkling further and her lips pouting. It was her confused face.

I sighed and tried again.

"Cancel is a word that tells you that what was supposed to happen didn't happen"....that was worst than the first explanation.

She looked at me, then said, "Is that why ayah was canceled".

I was baffled. What ever gave her the idea that her dad was canceled.

"Why do you say that sayang?" I asked her back.

"I heard you saying that ayah was sick and had cancel. Thats why he died." she replied, so innocently naive.

"Oh, sayang. No, no. no. Ayah didn't have cancel. He had cancer." I said.

"What's cancer then?" she asked.

I explained to her about cancer, as simple as I could. And she nodded with understanding. Satisfied with my explanation, she continued with her drawing.


It does feel like that sometimes.

The Great Whiner

Nobody likes a whiner. I thought I was expressing my feelings, fears, hopes and anxiety to someone that cared. I guess I was wrong. Eventually, we do hit the limits. Well, I'll have to put on that famous mask again then. The smiles, the "I have no care in the world" and "I am so strong, nobody can pull me down" faces again. You learn with time who to turn to, and who not to turn to. But like I said, nobody likes a whiner.
I am glad I have faith. HE, the Almighty will always listen to me.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Afternoon Drive....5 years on.

Its been 4 weeks now that I have restarted work, trying to regain some normality and routine back into my life. Energy is far from ample. I am afraid to expect anything now, in view of avoiding disappointment.

But this afternoon, I had a bit of energy and we went out for a drive. We haven't been out for a drive since coming back from Dublin. Its been almost a year. Most of the time, its driving with a mission (to get milk, or bread), but this afternoon, it was meant to be a leisure drive, aimless, careless. We wanted to enjoy the afternoon breeze and the soft sun, after the day had been cooled by rain earlier.

It started off nice. Then the air-conditioning decided that it has had enough. It wasn't too bad. We rolled down the window and continued to drive. The breeze was nice. Driving straight on, we came to a dead stop. Traffic. TRAFFIC! Traffic on a saturday afternoon. They had rearranged the route of the main road leading into the town center, and somebody in the town planning council thought they had come up with a good plan. Wrong.

We stayed in the jam for about 30 minutes before turning back at the nearest u-turn, drenched with sweat, we continued on with the drive, this time heading back home.

We passed by the old neighbourhood where we had rented our last house together.

"Oh Umi! Can we go and see the house again? Please?" cried the children.

I agreed, and we turned in. There was also a car accessory and air-conditioning shop near by. So, I stopped there for them to have a look at the car.

"Ah, hello doctor! Nice to see you again." said the mechanic. "New car? Sold the Wira?" Crikey, not only did he remember me, he also remembered the car I drove.

"Yes. You look busy. Business must be very good"

"Ya-lor. Can eat one-lah."

I explained about the air-conditioning predicaments. He knew exactly what was wrong with it. But because the car was still under warranty, he asked me to bring it back to the dealer's authorised workshop. He gave a few details of a good authorised dealer. I said my thanks and left.

We drove to the back of the shop lots where we had rented the house nearly 5 years ago.

"Which one is it?" asked my little princess. She was only 3 when we left, and we hadn't been back here for over 2 years.

"Its that one" replied her older brother. He remembers the place well. He has a good memory for emotional and eventful episodes.

We stopped the car and looked at the house in silence for a few minutes.

It looked sad and shabby. The trees I had planted were larger now, but looked old and unhealthy. Half the leaves were gone. The grass was overgrown and the place looked unloved by its new occupants. The mailbox we had bought, which their dad had tied onto the front gate was broken. It was all very sad.

"Who lives there now Umi?"

"I think its the owner's younger brother and his family. I am not sure"

"Can we go in and have a look?"

"No. Its not our house anymore. We don't want to disturb the people who live there now." I replied.

We had a few more minutes just sitting in the car looking at the house, until the children were satisfied.

"OK everyone? Shall we go?"

The kids agreed, and we left. I saw them look back as we drove away. Tears started to collect in my lower lids. But, I am now an expert of arresting this process. The tears never came out rolling down my cheeks.

On the way home, there was a stall selling durian. This was the place where we had always bought durian. It was a difficult place to revisit, because just before their dad was admitted to hospital for the last time, he had wanted some durians. I had brought a plastic container with me the evening before his admission so the man who sold the durian could actually cut it out for us. I am lousy with opening durians. But driving home that evening, I had forgotten, and drove straight home.

"Durian? Have you got the durian?" He asked me when I got home.

"Oh, I am sorry abang. I forgot. I'll get it tomorrow."

That tomorrow never came.

"Can we have some durians Umi?" asked the kids. I stopped the car at our usual stall. We got out and was greeted by his wife.

"Lah....lama tak jumpa" (Haven't seen you in a while) said the lady, as we exchanged salams. Crikey, she remembered me too.

"Give me the best durians". I requested. Her husband quickly took out the D-25s and U-something arather and U shishkebobs.....they were types of durian, which I have little knowledge of (as you can see.) Her husband opened a bit and asked me to try it. Yes, yummy stuff. He asked me where my plastic container was so he could open them the way he did 5 years ago.......I told him this was an unplanned visit. So, we took home the durians whole.

We drove back. All sweaty and smelling like durian.

"Thank you Umi. That was fun" my son said to me when we got out of the car. My little girl skipped out with joy.

Bless them. I am happy that little things like this, which may not be apparently significantly exciting to the average child, is much appreciated by mine. I hope they keep this attitude about life as a whole.

As I was about to enter the house, I stalled. 5 years on. I looked at the house that we had bought together.

"This is a good house for you and the kids" He told me, as he sat on the unfinished stairs. The house was 90% completed.

"It'll be good for all of us." I corrected him.

"Don't worry. My new house won't be far away" He replied back with a grin.

"Enough with the nonsense." I snapped back at him.

He never did got the chance to move in. That is in a way a blessing in disguise. We were able to move into a new house without the painful memories of him sitting, walking and resting in his favourite spots.

I gave a sigh, and walked in.

5 years on....... It doesn't get easier. But we do adapt. The lonliness doesn't get less. But we do fill up the empty gaps to compensate. The sadness and tears will never go away, but we are now better at holding them back. People see us as "better", because THEY have forgotten the pain. But I am glad about one thing that will never change. And that is the love.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Is this what I have become?

Sometimes, life's predicaments pushes us into a corner. There is no way out, but to push back these predicaments. The things I have had to do may not be of things I want to do, but of mere need. I need to do it, to survive. 2 little beings depend on me now, and if I do not succeed, the repercussion of failure will be endless. Call me selfish if you want, but when we have no space to give and take, the choices left are little. There are no more sacrifices I can make. I have hit hard bottom. I cannot budge. Its either my way, or my way. And if some cannot accept the situation that I am in now that has led me to this corner, then you should just let me be. I cannot afford to loose anymore. There is just too little left. They are my gems. My heart beats for them, and I will guard my treasures with my life. I am always on high alert, defensive, and prepared.