Monday, August 01, 2011

How I Will Always Remember Him

I lost my grandfather... My datuk is gone.. He left us last week on the 22nd of July at around 8pm. Words can't express how I feel and I suspect if I dared to go there, I will break down and do the ugly cry. The kind of cry which will have me sobbing my heart out, snot running down my face and me wailing and choking incessantly. So I've been keeping it at bay, my feelings, especially in front of everyone.

I miss him... I miss him everyday... And not a single day goes by when I don't think of him. This man has been a pivotal figure in my life. Being the eldest, I guess I always had that connection with him. I was his first grandchild, his first love. I have memories of him and I sweeping the porch way of his house in Ampang back when I was around 4 years old (well, him sweeping and me making a mess of course). Memories of him taking me out for a stroll in a mall or a restaurant for treats.

I have many beautiful memories of him, but one particular memory grabs me. It was back then in the late 90's when I was in high school. Datuk had always been proud of the fact that I followed his athletic streak. We both loved sports, be it running, skipping, badminton, football and such. So when I got selected to represent my school for long-distance track running - 400m, 4x400m and 800m, he was proud. I remember him coming to the stadium wearing his sports jacket and bearing drinks (my guess it was an energy drink). He had come to show his support. How happy was he that his granddaughter was running for interstate, that he had come all the way, by himself, to show his love and support from the sidelines. I cry when I think of this, I feel this huge lump forming in my throat and I want to break down each time I remember this.. but I don't.

My Datuk was a man of many words, often had things to say about almost every subject. He was also a reader, often reading books on religion, politics, history and the occasional fiction. He was intelligent, often quoting sentences or paragraphs from books he read (that used to impress me tremendously). He was a flirt, often pissing my Nenek off with his philandering eyes (eyes, only eyes!). He was obsessed about cleanliness, and was very house-proud. Often you would see him going around the Ampang house rearranging furniture, sweeping the floor and porch way, picking up rubbish from around the compound, and even went as far as clearing up the road outside the Ampang house. He was also a very fit man before he had his first heart-attack. I have vivid memories of him skipping rope on the porch way from since I was very young. Being the sports enthusiast like him, I would also play badminton with him in the evenings. He taught me how to "smash", the act of hitting your shuttle with power and speed downward to your opponent's court.

Of course there are many more memories of him.. like memories of him sitting in his usual chair in the Ampang house living room and having his smoke, maybe talking about politics, or sometimes talking just about anything. For some reason, my memory of Datuk is always of him in his infamous turquoise baju melayu. He always had that on. I can't quite recall why I seem to always remember him in that outfit. Maybe it was because of the outstanding colour...

Speaking of memories, I had recently gone back to the Ampang house to collect a few items from the kitchen in preparation for Raya ie baking trays, weighing scale, recipe books and such. Well in truth, it was my mom's maid that needed to pick those things up. So while Risda was busy cluttering around the kitchen searching for the items, I got busy looking through some old photo albums, hoping to find some long lost photos of Datuk and I back when I was a tot. Among the mountains of photo albums, here are the pictures that I managed to unearth. Some of it were also taken from my sister's blog :P

Handsome and stylish man he was...

Datuk was an ASP (Asisten Superintenden) but retired as a DSP (Deputy Superintenden) *if the spelling is wrong please blame it on my sister as this fact was also taken from her blog :P

Datuk and Mama, in the early 60's

Datuk and three kids - Mummy Zieda, Uncle Man and Mama

What a beautiful couple! I'm guessing they were in their early forties. They looked really good, didn't they?!

Now, I'm guessing this was when they were in the 20's ? Yes, they had dancing back then :P Let's do the twist, anyone?!

A dashing Datuk getting out of the car, and entering marriage.

The family back in 1981. Arwah Datuk, Nenek, Mama, Mummy Zieda, Uncle Man and Moksu. The baby would be me (first grandchild). I'm pretty sure my Papa was the cameraman.

And 26 years later! Look at how big the family had grown.

One of my very few pictures that I took of Arwah Datuk and me (and Nash). As his sickness deteriorated, I ceased the picture-taking, out of respect for him.

My beloved Arwah Datuk and I in Le Village Resort Kuantan.

This pic was taken before his first heart attack in 2006. I remember crying my way to the hospital to see him. It was the year I got married and we were all busy preparing for the wedding. I remember thinking "No Datuk , you are not leaving me when I need you at my wedding!"

Of course he survived... In fact, he survived a few more attacks. As the years went on and his sickness intensified, the family could only watch on helplessly and did what we could. There were many panicked trips to the hospital, bottles and sachets of medicine and pills prescribed and consumed, thousands of ringgit spent on consultation, oxygen tanks and hospital rooms. However, even though Datuk's health got worse and weaker, his spirit stayed strong. The countless amount of hospital trips and doctor's visit only reminded us to cherish all the extra time that we had with him.

Arwah Datuk finally passed on 5 years later... After years of battling heart and lung failure. I miss my Datuk so much but I was lucky to have him for 30 whole years. Thank you for giving me that extra time to be with my Datuk...