I can be quite morbid. I think about death quite a lot; and people around me are on the way there -- the alam barzakh. AHS and I went to visit a friend last Friday. He had a second bypass; but he looked good -- 2 days after the operation. The week before, we visited a neighbour who has brain tumour, but she talked about it in a matter-of-fact way. She recovered from cancer of the womb, about 10 years ago. There are also healthy people who just drop dead. My cousin's husband, not 40, died in an accident last week.
A few non-muslim friends mentioned that muslims have a better concept of death. We deal with it much better than they do. We take death as part of life, they said. It is fate. I guess so.
But in my thoughts, I decide that it is better for the living to know the reason or reasons why a person dies. I do not want a loved one to simply disappear one day, without a trace. Like a friend's father who went to work outstation, never to return. Police investigation did not lead to much. That was more than 20 years ago. There's no closure for her. Or like Sharlinie, for instance. The whole family had to uproot and start all over again.
I feel I will be ready when AHS has to breathe his last. Everyday I think of it, not in a terribly sad kind of way, but as a part of life that I have to go through. And when we have the chance to be together, I cherish it, and will not trade it for anything else. By law of nature, he, who is more than 20 years older than me would depart first. I also understand that I might be the one to kick the bucket earlier. But however it is, if AHS has to go first, I need to know why, how.
We are left with AHS' daughter's helper for three weeks, since the whole family has gone to Algeria to visit the in-laws. So, last Saturday we decided to take the maid to TESCO to get her some work clothes. She has been wearing her nice clothes, and only being here a couple of months, she does not have a sen on her. AHS would wait for us at the kopitiam when we are ready, and then get lunch.
I managed to get the maid a blouse, a pair of trousers, a pyjama bottom, bra and three panties for RM51.90! I took the opportunity to get the grocery. I normally do the grocery shopping elsewhere, so it took me a while to get things. Anyway, after a couple of hours, we rolled the trolley towards the kopitiam.
AHS wasn't anywhere in sight. OK, I thought; he must be in the gents'. After 10 minutes, I phoned him. No response. Tried again. Failed again. I got a little angry -- he must have left the machine at home. I also made a mental note that next time if we have to go separate ways, I must make sure we both have our handphones. I then told the maid to stay put, and started walking slowly towards the shops on our right. Back again. No AHS. I then asked the boys at the kopitiam. They knew hardly any Malay and not much English. Not a help at all!
Again, I walked into the shops, peering left and right, and up and down aisles. I then realised the lousy acoustics of the building. The music was blaring too loudly. If anyone were to shout for help, it would be of no use. The music would drown any other sound. When I walked back to the maid, AHS was still missing. I was quite angry now. And desperate. Where could he be? Surely he would not be going into the supermarket to search for us? Well, going into the busy supermarket would be my last resort. He had never done this.
Although I was sure AHS would not venture anywhere near the stalls outside (for he doesn't take to heat very well), I went outside and walked the length of the building. And I really wanted to shout 'Stop the %#*&# music!'. I went back inside through the door at the far end and walked into every shop from the opposite end to where the maid was. Now, I went into the shops and called AHS' name. I even went to the gents' and called out to him. No AHS. I was exasperated; and that morbidity crept in.
What if he had a lapse in his memory? I have read stories of the elderly wandering about; due to a temporary lapse in their memory. What if he fell in the restroom? What if he was mugged? It didn't help that an elderly couple lost their car in a parking lot of a hypermarket recently. Truth be told, I was quite close to tears. I went to the 'Customers' Information Centre' hoping to page for him, but I changed my mind and decided to scout every corner of the hypermarket.
I deliberately checked the pace of my stride, for I do walk very fast. Looked right: queues and checkout counters, and rows of items. Ahead: lower shelves and electrical goods at the far end. That's my destination. Looked left; books on shelves. And AHS! I almost ran towards him, calling out to him. He did not look up, still peering at the book in his hands. I called again; and this time he saw me. I was very relieved; put my arms around him, told him I thought he was lost, why didn't he reply my call? why did he wander off? how glad I was to have found him; and dragged him by the hand to where the maid was.
Relief. 'Mystery' solved. Alhamdulillah.