My uncle, fondly known as Pakcik Haji (PCH) passed away this morning. I got a call from my brother while were are having our sahur. He died due to heart compilation. As long as I can remember, he was suffering from multiple illness since I was a bachelor. His health gradually decreased over the years. His right hand was paralyzed and his eyes were partly blind. However he was adamant not to go to hospital for treatment. He was an old man (born in 1920s) from older generation who believed that any medical problems can be cured using traditional medicine and alternative methods such as Quranic verses. Afterall he was a former imam, a respected position that days. He was sought after by kampung folks not only when they are sick but for other types of problems - marital problems, misbehave childrens even to pass an exam. His treatment was reciting doa and preparing 'air penawar' for them.
He is related to my family not only because he was married to Maklang but he was also my late Pak's cousin. That's make our family are very close to each other. My eldest brother, AD enjoyed a very closed relationship with him. He treated AD more than his own son. They enjoyed each other company since AD was a toddler. Mak once recalled, sometimes AD would crying at night asking to be with PCH. He won't stop crying until he met PCH. When Mak was working, AD was babysit by Maklang. The relationship became stronger after the demise of Pak, more than 10 yrs ago.
Mak also had a very close relationship with PCH. Whenever she heard that PCH was not well, she would immediately visit him. Of course, not with empty-handed. She would cook his favourite dish like tepung bungkus or tepung talam for him. When we had a special meal at home like nasi beriani or laksa, she will bring to PCH also. This tradition is traced back to our late father, who started this. As we grew up, we know that PCH is a special person to my parents, so we must respect him the way our parents did.
I am sure Maklang is the one who is suffering the most at this moment. She has been a loyal wife to PCH. She is always by his side since PCH was down with multiple illness, more than a decade ago. She sacrifices her personal comfort to give priority to PCH. Even she herself is not healthy, due to age factor, she didn't want to leave him for hospital treatment. She didn't attend any kenduri or gathering just to be with PCH, in case he needs her help. Not even mine, her favorite niece.
I don't remember any special moments with PCH but always put a high respect for him. He was our 'orang tua' after Pak passed away. One of our obligations whenever we balik kampung is to visit him, even for a short while. I don't know how to describe my feeling but he has a special place in my heart.
Losing him is painful for me and it's bitter because I was unable to attend his funeral. What more to be with Maklang & other family members during this hard time. Al fatihah.