Monday, 31 January 2005

A Child’s Fear

I am feeling a little melancholic. The subject of life and death seems to pester my mind a lot these days. Last Saturday, the phone rang at 5 am. It turned about to be a wrong number, but it has triggered a memory of 8 years ago when my Father left this world. Since then, I always associate phone calls at ungodly hours as a sign of emergency. And hard though it is, I feel like I'm on a standby mode for another urgent phone call.

On one hand, I have my 21-month old Daughter, who just started her life. She is growing, gaining more strength and learning new things everyday. Her life is a future full of potentials. On the other hand, there’s my Mother, who will be 70 this year. She’s getting older, losing her strength and independence and getting sick very often. Her life is a past with its heartache and joy. Then there’s me, a mother to one and a child to another. To my Daughter, I’m capable of everything. To my Mother, I will always be her baby, no matter what.

In my joy watching my child grow and feeling impatient to see her develop into her own person, I also have this secret wish that if only I could stop the time for my Mother so that she will not grow older. I want her to live forever to see my child grow. I want my Daughter to know, love and remember her grandmother.

My Mother’s frailty often surprises me. I don’t see her often, perhaps four or five times a year. In my mind, she is still strong and young, a plump figure with good health. But when I see her, reality hits me hard, for what I see is an old woman with wrinkles, grey hair and a body that is getting weaker everyday. I would notice her dozing off on her chair while watching her favourite cerekarama or lying down in bed during the day and I’d realise that her body is failing her.

My Mother was relatively healthy prior to her first heart attack almost two years ago, just one week after my Daughter was born. Since then, her health has deteriorated a lot and she’s dependent on numerous medications to manage her health.

During Hari Raya Haji, my brother got a wheel-chair for my Mother. I was so happy for her. Afterall, I was the one who pestered her to get herself a wheelchair during her visit to KL end of last year. But when she finally got it, I couldn’t help feeling a tinge of sadness. The wheelchair seems like a symbol of her body failing her. She was happy with the gift, saying that she could use it to move from the living room to the toilet whenever she needs to, which is not really a far distance. These days, she is often plagued with aching feet that affect her ability to walk.

I remember feeling envious of my friends when I was a child. They had young parents who were still in their thirties while I felt that my parents were old enough to be my grandparents. As a child, I was scared that my parents would not live long enough to see me grow up.

Now my Father is no longer around, and I’m afraid to face the day when my Mother will leave me too.


mardhiah12 said...

dearest aunt,

the demise of late Tok Ayah had left me sad. I felt guilty of not spending a lot more time with Tok Ayah. which made me to realise that my own grandmother is a truly wonderful superwoman despite of sometimes, her nagging & babbling :). i appreciate my time with Mak much more after the demise of Tok Ayah. and sometimes, i always hope that mak will always be there for us. i might sounds selfish, but i'm always hoping that mak would be forever with us as she's right now, the sole reason who keeps us close and going back to kampung.

it feels sad reading your entry today

Yasmin's Mummy said...

mardiah: such is life.. sorry didn't mean to spread the sadness