I just celebrated my birthday at the weekend, so close to my 5th decade already! A thought crossed my mind; will I live to see my 50th, 60th, 70th or 80th birthday? Actually something else triggered this line of thought, a visit to my bereaved friend’s place mid last week. She’s a lovely 70 year old lady who I befriended just over a decade ago. We first met at the local library where we chatted casually. She was skeptical however when she learned that I home-educated my children. I remember how she challenged my views, she’s of the old school where there’s only one route to education. However, over the years she’s become rather fond of me and vice versa. As my children grew older she could see that I’ve done a fairly good job in educating them. She respects me for it and I value her wisdom, advice and friendship. She also loves reading, hence our first meeting at the library many moons ago. So you can imagine how well we got along over the years. Despite the age gap, I can relate to her easily each time we met and chatted.
The last time I bumped into her at the library again (late last Autumn), she told me that her husband of 50 years has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. It was sudden, no one saw it coming. Then we heard of his passing in early January. I managed to pop round to see her last week, she was grateful I came. She was calm but I caught the tears in the corner of her eyes. She told me how her husband refused any further treatments. Her husband had said that he’s had a good long fulfilling life (he turned 87 just before he died). He didn’t want his life prolonged any further. And 50 years of marriage, what more can she ask for? Everyone has to go someday, like it or not. Main thing is to focus on the blessings, the times you’ve shared together. Her words rang in my head for a while afterwards. I hugged my husband tight and cried when I got home. I realised the future is not ours to see, life is like an open-ended storybook. My parents had 34 years together, until my dad too, passed away so suddenly. What about us? What’s in store for us? How long have we got left?
I can worry and wonder all I want, but it wouldn’t do me any good. You can’t go around living your life like that. You’re supposed to take one day at a time. You focus on the present, you live from moment to moment. You be thankful for all the little things that come your way each day. You be grateful that you’re still alive! I’m reminded of my elder sister at this point, yes, I had an older sister who died in infancy. She was named Siti Baizura. My mom used to tell me how fair and beautiful she was, even as a baby. We visited her grave every year on Eid when I was growing up in Penang. I sometimes wonder what it would have been like had my sister lived. But I’ll never find out. My sister died, I was born a year later. I cheered my parents up just by being born, I took their grief away. They never forgot their eldest who died, it was apparent from the graveyard visits. But their focus shifted, they were happy once again and blessed with 3 more daughters!
I end this post with a grateful heart. I cannot foresee my future but I shall focus on the present and learn from the past. I’m grateful for every little thing; the air I breathe, the roof above my head, the food on my table. I’m grateful for the chance to continue living, to love and to be loved. I don’t know how long I’ve got, only God the Almighty knows. But I am ever so grateful for the 48 years I’ve had, I know I’ve been truly blessed. The miracle of living, to experience a glimpse of heaven on this earth, for that I can only put my hands up and say, Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God)!!! And now let me get back to filling the pages of my open-ended storybook, somehow I’m not so afraid anymore…
One of my favourites back in the 80s, I think it holds a new meaning for me now….