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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

In remembrance of a great man: Allahyarham Azhar Asmuni

Dear Diary,
Rather than let the cats 'write' to you today, I will do it myself, to remind myself about life.
Last Friday, my uncle Azhar Asmuni surrendered himself to the beloved Maker, after months of battle with the malevolence known as cancer. Finally at peace, closer to heaven than any of us mortal beings.
With that, he left hearts behind. My aunt, Siti Maisarah, his two children, Shazni and Shazrina, and all of us.
It broke my heart to see my aunt with tears in her eyes, trying to be strong for her children and for herself. And yet, I am proud of her, knowing for a fact that she has always been a strong woman for as long as I can remember.
It also pains me, that the last time I saw him was months and months ago, even before he was even diagnosed. We kept trying to come visit him after the operation, but there were always things to do, work to be done, illnesses and family affairs to work on, that it got delayed every single week. On the last date we planned, he was already gone.
The last memory I had of him was last Eid. He complained of a stomach ache, and I made him a cup of ginger tea.
"Sedap teh Syahida. Ajar mak cik kau buat," he said jokingly. To those who don’t know him, it may sound like a criticism. In truth, however, he loved her very much. Rather than show it to people, he tends to joke around, enjoying my aunt's annoyance, snickering by himself when she expresses her protests, laughing vigorously when she retaliates.
She's a woman of vivacity, and he was a fiery man who embraces life and liveliness. They were perfect for each other, going on trips around the world, working together not just as husband and wife, and parents to their kids, but also as partners in everything.
They were their own version of Rhett and Scarlet, Ainun and Habibie, Marie and Pierre.
And somehow, as saddened I am for not being able to see him on his last days, I am grateful that the man I last saw still had his fire, his snickers, his vigour, and his liveliness, who still looks at his wife with that loving gaze whilst teasing her at the same time. That way, I will always remember him at his best.
Life is fragile, as one has always known. But death is not just about the one that is gone. It also concerns the ones left behind. The ones who must pick up the pieces and continue, the ones who must move on but never forget, the ones who will have to soar with a clipped wing.
"'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all," according to Tennyson.
But one never loses the love of one's life. Love is never gone, but to be shaped, mended, moulded, sculpted, embraced in a different way, to be immortalised in one's heart, and joined with the love of God.
The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.” [Bukhari]