I woke up to the sound of raindrops falling heavily on the roof. I looked out and saw that it was pouring outside. As I lay in bed mentally preparing myself for the day ahead I switched on my phone to check if I had received any messages and to see the latest updates on Facebook.
I was shocked to read that my cousin's husband had passed away yesterday. I couldn't help but shed tears. He spent over 3 months in ICU as he was suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). A few days ago he was finally discharged on his 100th day in hospital. I can't believe one more person I know is gone even though I have only met him once and that was during my last summer break in Malaysia. I remember how much he loved durian and that's a little strange for an Austrian, but in a good way =) Mum and I bought a few and we ate them at my cousin's condominimum and he joined us.
He just enjoyed it so much! And I thought it was funny. I didn't know him very well but he seemed so gentle and kind and I can tell how much he meant to my cousin, Amirah, whom I refer to as Kak Amy. She frequently updated her family and friends about his condition through posting notes on Facebook. Here's one of her latest pieces:
Saturday 8th May 2010
Today Norbert is in ICU for exactly 90 days. What has it done to me? It teaches me how important it is to give love and to feel loved. So I consciously show as a matter of spiritual practice. Now I truly understand what all great religious teachers have talked about - loving those who irk or wrong us. It makes me appreciate more of what I have.
Loving a man who is sick is like when a parent who is being stressful and irritated by her child, yet she continues to express love. It's just a matter of deciding to do so. I show him all the love I can give especially when I recall all the things that makes me appreciate him (all the good things he has done for me). I also bring to my mind a sense of his suffering, struggles and yearning (placing myself in his shoes).
I can't do much for Norbert, but all the small moments we shared together in the hospital, adding up day by day, often just a small gesture, maybe a back scratch, a smile or gentle look, help knit a relationship of a lifetime.
Norbert and Kak Amy, I am so proud of both of you for staying so strong during challenging times. I think you two truly made it. My deepest condolences to your families and I will keep you in my prayers. May Allah swt grant him Jannah, Ameen. Al-Fatihah.
A few moments ago I turned around and looked outside my window again. It's still pouring and I still can't over Norbert's passing away. I can't imagine loving a man so much and losing him. Oh it is going to be so hard to put on a smiley face today.
"Innalillah wa inna ilaihi rajioon"
"To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return” (Surah Al Baqarah 2:156)