Monthly Archives: November 2013

goodbye uncle

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Death ends a life, not a relationship.

To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.

When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.

Today is one of the saddest day of my life after a long period of time. Well, 12 years to be precise. On the day my father died about 12 years ago, I went around like a zombie sorting out his funeral. Right from the moment he breathed his last up to the time he entered his grave. I still remember every minute detail. I am reminded of that very day again when my beloved uncle passed away this morning in my homeland, Malaysia. My dear cousin had updated me daily of his father’s condition since his heart operation several weeks ago. He showed positive signs of recovery at one point, but went downhill afterwards and deteriorated. To God we belong and to Him we return. That is our belief in Islam. Our existence in this world is temporary and fragile, we live in hope that we shall be reunited with our loved ones in Heaven.

My late father was also 64 when he passed away 12 years ago, like his younger brother today. I still remember how my uncle rode on his motorbike almost every other day (60 miles to and fro) to hold my dad’s hand at the hospital. I remember how genuinely sad he looked when he realised his older brother was dying. I remember how he had helped to bathe and bury my dad. I remember the few phone calls and the Eid celebration cards to him when I first lived in England. I remember my visits to his house, with my British born husband and in-laws. I remember how he welcomed me with open arms, how he missed his older brother and was happy to see him through me. I remember how fond he was of my first-born son, my only child when my dad was alive.

I remember how handsome he looked when he was young, I remember attending his beautiful wedding. I remember his passion for oldies music, I remember a lovely black and white picture of him smiling with a guitar in hand. I remember a lot of things about him, but most of all I remember him as a wonderful uncle to me. I will never forget you my beloved uncle, I pray that you will be amongst the pious in Heaven. I pray God keep your entire family strong during this very emotional time. I pray that we will all meet again one fine day. Goodbye Uncle, rest in peace, you are home now. I love you forever…❤

hpj

happy times; my late uncle with his wife during their daughter’s engagement

my beloved uncle, forever missed

To all Muslims reading this post, please take a moment to read Al-Fatihah (the opening chapter of our Holy Book, The Quran) for my beloved uncle. Thank you, may Allah reward you all.

true love

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I don’t need a reason to share the classic song below, but I have a few. Number one, because my dearest hubby loves it, which I only found out when it played at the cafe we were at recently. Number two, because I’m missing my hubby heaps, we’re temporarily separated by the oceans and continents. Number three, because it reminds me of my dear uncle (in his heyday), who I have prayed for day and night for the past week. Alhamdulillah, he’s on the slow road to recovery, I shall continue to pray for his health. Number four, because my hubby said I’m the greatest blessing in his life, after his faith. Which made me reflect on love, what is love actually? Is it merely a word to make the other person happy?

No, true love is pure commitment and sacrifice. True love is how I saw my parents before my beloved dad left this world. True love is what I see in my uncles’ and aunties’ long lasting marriages. True love is loving the other person unconditionally, straight from the heart. True love is what you experience after going through the ups and downs of life together. True love is what brings you nearer to God the Almighty. True love is what a close family unit share with one another. True love is standing by each other through thick and thin. True love has kept me in England for almost 17 years. True love is the reason I am still here.❤

I shall continue to stand by him, Inshallah

(England, autumn 1997) I shall continue to stand by him, Inshallah

nusantara delight

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I don’t even remember the season. I just remember walking between them and feeling for the first time that I belonged somewhere.
Stephen Chbosky

Greetings to all! Hope you’re all in good health and spirits! Feels like I’ve been off blogging for ages, in reality it hasn’t been that long really. So much to share from my little corner of the world, but first let me welcome you readers back to my blog with these remaining blooms in my garden. They were a pleasure to behold when I finally got the chance to wander into the garden, there’s just been so much rain and strong winds lately. And I’ve certainly been neglecting my garden big time! 😦

the pink gazenias I planted in early summer

was surprised to find the violets still growing!

Despite the dreary weather however, I’ve finally got out of my shell. I haven’t been socialising much for the past couple of months as I’ve been focused on preparing my big daughter for her grammar school entrance exam. Now that it’s out of the way, I was happy to meet up with everyone again, particularly my Indonesian friends. These few ladies from the Nusantara are from the same neck of woods as me, we share a common ground in our faith, eating habits, right to our language and social/cultural norms. I didn’t realise how much I’ve missed them until I met up with them again at one of their houses over lunch on a rainy day. Before I left, another invitation was extended to me, to attend their monthly gathering the following day. They take turns to host this social and religious event, normally held in another city where there’s a larger number of Indonesians. But this time it was the turn of one of my local Indonesian friends. I have been to this gathering in the past, but it’s been quite a long time since I did so to be honest. So you can imagine how excited I was to attend once again! 😉

delicious spread

close up of the delicious Indonesian food

We usually start of with ‘makan-makan’ (eating!) session once all the families have arrived. There’s always so much food, my dear Indonesian friend who hosted this gathering happens to be a great cook! She could whip up a whole table of dishes (pictured above) single-handedly. But the other Indonesian sisters who come would normally bring some home-cooked food too, so the cuisines on the table would double! This is also the time we would catch up on each other’s lives, relating our highs and lows and supporting one another. We would then pray together and settle down for the talk given by the appointed speaker (usually from amongst the men). The topics vary from time to time, but they all serve as a reminder to strengthen our belief in God the Almighty. These gatherings bring us all close together, we uphold the community spirit that we grew up with back in our homelands. It’s a great blessing indeed, as some of these ladies need that extra support to remain steadfast in our faith and culture.

I also had the privilege to meet a couple of new faces at this gathering; one of them a ‘larger than life’ Singaporean lady in her 6th decade who migrated to England the year I was born! I have to catch up with her again, she’s such a vibrant character, right from the moment she entered the room! I also met a sweet British born Bangladeshi lady probably a decade younger than I am, she’s also married to an English convert (like many of the Indonesian ladies) and has such beautiful children. We got on the moment we were introduced to one another. I’ve always enjoyed meeting new people, for they open up my outlook on life further. As for the usual bunch of Indonesian sisters I meet at these gatherings, I shall always be glad to have them in my life in England. I’m grateful to them for giving me the sense of belonging and for helping me maintain my Eastern-Malay identity in this Western world which is now my home. I admire them for their warmth, humility, generosity, friendliness and sweet smiley faces, regardless of the turmoils and hardships they may face in their lives. They are certainly amongst the loveliest people I have met here, Alhamdulillah!

my lovely host

some of the other Indonesian ladies, all so lovely!

My post wouldn’t be complete without a song, as my regular readers would know. After hunting high and low, I found this amazing Indonesian singer who sings wonderful numbers in praise of God the Almighty. I’ve chosen two here; my children love the first one, a lively clip of my beloved Nusantara people. The second one is more my cup of tea, rather enchanting…

fallen leaves

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I am truly inspired by glorious autumn at the moment, natural beauty all around every corner I turn! I go crazy on poems as a result of this, one of the best tools to release all the emotions I feel inside. I hope you will like one of my favourites below. The autumn days are now shorter (sunset around 4ish) and the gusty winds howl angrily each time which tends to scare me a little. The days are definitely getting drearier and colder (9-10c), I wrap up warm with copious cups of tea to keep me going. Nevertheless, I would like to wish everyone a happy November and to all Muslims, a blessed 1435 Hijrah (new year in our lunar Islamic calendar). I’m taking a wee break from blogging (just to catch up on other matters), do read my previous autumn posts, including those between Sept-Nov 2012. Better still, read all my posts whilst I’m away! 🙂

FALL, LEAVES, FALL

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.

I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

Emily Jane Brontë

autumn leaves by our local park

autumn leaves by our local park