Wednesday, 18 May 2016

The Day My Grandma Passed Away

Note: my first shortstory written in English. it was published in Annida Magazine, September 2007.

It was a clear morning, with windy air and shiny sun, when I heard about the news. Just seconds from the great scenes I never bored of, the Heroes series on television, when old Hiro met young Hiro.

As I heard about the news, the clouds turned black, and rain slowly dropped, and, amazingly so did the snows. I didn’t know if it was only an illusion in my mind, but I deeply felt cold inside, and emptiness tied me so tight. “Attar, grandma passed away,” my cousin said. And thunders and storms suddenly stroke in my heart. I shocked as the snows touched my skins.

I just met my lovely grandmother last week, in my sister’s marriage ceremony. She was just fine with good heath and fresh look. Her husband, our grandpa, passed away years a go, but that day she seemed very far from loneliness. But now, diabetes took her life. It is her destiny. And snows still dropped in my pathetic soul.

But today is different. The snows melt. The cold weather is walking out the room. Yes, I sense the climate changing. I am now at my grandma’s funeral ceremony. I sit outside, accompanied by my wife. Sacred verses from al-Quran are read by some women and men, all dressed in black. It’s just like the most beautiful sound I’ve ever listened. I feel happy to know that grandma died in a good end. She smiled, as she knew that the time had come and she was ready. She fulfilled her duties and moral obligations. And nothing to worry. She is now finally free; to meet The Lover she’s missed and dreamed so much, Her Creator.

But there is more good news that heats my heart. I find that death makes life more alive. The funeral is just like national gathering family. Tens of family groups come, and get along. It is the biggest relatives’ reunion. Or even better. There are so many faces I don’t recognize, and this is the time to introduce one to another. The bond is tightening and the networking is bigger. And friends come, especially old friends we never heard their news for months or even years.

I don’t know if this is a bad attitude, but we laugh cheerfully. We celebrate grandma’s achievements and good manner. What a great grandmother we had. And we just realized it.

Actually, I am not that close with grandma, and I am not proud of it. Once, I felt that family sucks, with too many rules and laws. But I knew later on, that everything in this world needs rules and laws. Just be fun of them, instead of yelling around with mournful atmosphere.

So we do the last duty as grandsons and granddaughter for her. We provide a simple spiritual ceremony, and invite all of the family and friends as many as we can. So here they are, coming from far places, even from the edge of the world. For example, Sita, a 32 working woman bring along her five children from Netherlands. She never came home since 1998. Aldi, a 24 years old student, came yesterday from Perth. Silva, who run business in Pekalongan and northern coast roads are willing to come and meet Dilla, director from multinational company, even though they never spoke for five years—and now they share stories about grandma.

What a wonderful funeral, as flowers bloom, and rain stops complaining. And the snows, I am now sure that it’s only my imagination, have gone without saying good bye.

And this magical moment emerges in the day my grandmother is buried. She is now covered by kafan clothing and ready to be buried. And we all pray for her.

“O Lord, please forgive her sins, and love her…”

And the snows definitely melt as the sun comes down. Sunset ends this episode. What a fantastic day it is. And we all come home.

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