9 September 2006 as I will always remember it.
Saturday morning when two sms arrived at 815 am Greenwich time. I was preparing for a big day –an annual bonfire and BBQ at the beach of Weymouth. This year would be a special as we’d like to treat our friends before set off to USA sometimes soon. Date have been set-up, food have been stacked, drink have been piled and so on until I decided to read the massage.
Kek, bpk meninggal dunia.
(Kek, dad passed away)
A very short massage but it punched my stomach straight away. I couldn’t speak any word, my vision became very blur. I felt choked in my throat, my feet suddenly felt off float on the ground. I managed to whisper calling desperately to Mark. He was little bit irritated as he was in the middle of something in computer. I struggled to say something that might explain my feeling. All I can do just grab his hand and cried in his shoulder. Cry with unstoppable tears.
My dad (Bapak-in common Javanese) has been taken to hospital a day before. He had been in and out several hospitals in my hometown Jogjakarta – mainly complaining his breathing and blood pressure. None of those actually life threatening but this time he did not make it.
Franticly I booked flight to Jogja. Ironic that about a week earlier I booked flight for Mark to Singapore and I always hinted explicitly that I really want to go with him. About the same day when I had my last conversation on phone with Bapak, he said something unusual then I dismissed it. We had a long chat about important issues in family matters. As you might know I am the eldest in the family with two sisters. There are no boys in our clan. We –Javanese people are patriarchy system which man would have more privileges than woman. With no son in his side, Bapak always treat me as a boy, taught me as a boy and even talked with me as his mate. We had a special bond, not just daughter and father.
I realized that I will not be able to attend his funeral. As a Muslim we been urged to bury a body as soon as possible. My trip to Jogja will last about three days, so I was ikhlas that he will bury without me exactly like Bapak ikhlas give me away in Islamic wedding (ijab qabul) without his presence. That might he intended too. I remembered when a massive earthquake rocketed Bantul area 3 month ago –with epicenter less than 10km from his house, I was trying to reach him. He refused, said that too many volunteer already works in the field. He kept telling me that everything was fine. The house that I designed with him was survived with no structural damaged.
I put a brave face on that day in front of our friends in Weymouth. I decided to keep this feeling deep down inside. First, I don’t want everybody feel sorry as it will lead more tears for me. Secondly, this day should be the day that I enjoy it. I did eventually. The BBQ was right on the side of the cliff in Weymouth-Portland beach. We were heading the place nearly sunset, the weather just perfect.
I sat on the big stone watching the sunset away apart from the crowd. It was a beautiful day in late summer. My eyes glazing into the horizon try to see other continent thousands miles divided by seas. I couldn’t. I only see the gold round shape of sun shining peacefully leaving the world into darkness. I whispered saying that I let Bapak to go. My mouth mumbles few words that he might want to listen far far away. I remembered details of our good and bad relationships. But it turned out he did the best for me. I struggled to put my tears away.
I am in a great loss. I felt empty inside. I lost a partner in heated debat. Bapak was also my very first teacher who taught me English. To pay my debt I promised my self to write about his life in English to respect what he was done to me.
Thank you Bapak..
PS : Thank you for personal massages, email, sms condolence sent to me. Ambar and family would like to say many thanks for your wish and pray.
*) kek stand of short call for tekek or lizard is my nickname at home.