When we as a family finally decided on a Monday morning that we were going to take him home that was as if the once silent rhythmic heartbeat became unusually apparent to the hearing from our own set of ears. The now strange vibrations slowly making us realize that the suffering of our father had to stop one day and we would need strength for any emotional punches that would sway us away. Then, a thick layer of tenseness clouded everywhere, casting us as puppets on a small cardboard show not conscious on our next move, just waiting for the hands from above to move the strings attached to the body.
Once the doctor briefed us on the standard operating procedures and equipment we would need at our home, we knew things would not be the same anymore. He told us we had about two days. By noon, the EMTs came into the oncology ward and carried my father onto the stretcher with the help of the on-duty nurses. Once they gently placed him into the ambulance, we told them to turn off the siren when on the freeway.
I remembered a chain of swollen looking clouds alongside layers of sheeting rain gently descending as if the angels in the sky orchestrated the heavenly bursting of tears for the loss of my father; the rhythmic sound of creaky car vipers, which I had memorized each time it sways from left to right and back to left. I would tap my fingers onto the stained windowpane of rain droplets for each movement it made. *tap…tap…tap*. Bitter Americano scent aired the vehicle whilst I was differentiating whether had my faucet of tears opened owing to my then burned tongue from the blazing beverage or the fact that I do not have a dad anymore.
At that point, I was so confused with what would become in the coming days. I repeatedly kept saying in my mind ‘We are taking you home, Dad’. It felt like I had swallowed a thousand of needles down my throat.
The funeral went smoothly as planned although peculiar, as we were unfamiliar with the practices.
We carried on doing things with simplicity where we accepted not all-traditional custom, which is what dad wanted. Lastly, to have my dad’s ashes scattered into the sea.
A fragment of a dream I had recently- It was a scorching Sunday afternoon in a small rural town in Johor. We were at my mother’s hometown in a small corner house. My dad was in his mid 30s, thick black hair, wearing a pair of golden brown glasses of huge frame from the 90s carrying Roxanne’s newborn whilst sitting on the sofa fast asleep. It felt so original and…so right.
My dad unfortunately did not get to meet his first grandson but I know he is watching us from above. I miss you, dad. May you be well and happy wherever you are.