Tag Archives: grief

cameron roses

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Hello again everyone! Apologies for not being able to blog once a week as promised. It’s been a hectic few weeks since we returned from our holiday in Malaysia. Anyway, I’m here now. This time around I would like to blog about Cameron roses. What’s so special about them? Well, I’ve already included a getaway to Cameron Highlands whilst I was preparing my Malaysia trip itinerary. I knew my family would love this place, my own parents took my sisters and I there when we were little. The British discovered Cameron Highlands when they ruled Malaysia, they retreated there whenever possible as it was cooler than the rest of the country.

We had a great time in Cameron Highlands; we visited the Boh tea factory and plantation, the bee and strawberry farms. Will try to blog about them all soon! But right now, let’s focus on those roses. I had wanted to buy Cameron roses, bouquets of them! I had that intention whilst I was outlining my Cameron trip here in England. Which was over half a year before we actually went for holiday. I wanted Cameron roses (about the only place roses grow in abundance in Malaysia) as gifts for my aunties, we were visiting them along the way. Cameron Highlands was the first place we visited during our road trip in Malaysia. The other reason I wanted Cameron roses was to put them on my beloved dad’s and uncle’s graves. I felt so strongly about it, I knew I had to find those roses. By hook or by crook!

I was over the moon when I spotted a few stalls by the road side on the way down from Cameron Highlands after our visit. There were a couple of florists, that was a good sign. But the first one didn’t sell roses. I ran across the road to the next one, I spotted a few fresh bouquets. The Chinese lady thought I wanted one bouquet, I told her I wanted a handful! She was overjoyed she sold me and armful and more! She was about to close for the day so she gave me extra roses at no extra charge. She was just overwhelmed that I had bought so many! Anyway, I ran back to the car to the amazement of my hubby and 4 children. They couldn’t even see me at first, just my arms full of colourful roses. Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God) my wishes came true. The Cameron roses were mine in the end, after months of longing. My aunties received them happily. I just wanted them to know I love them always, regardless of the distance separating us. And the Cameron roses laid on the graves, accompanying my prayers for my forever beloved father and uncle, may they rest in peace…❤

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my cameron bouquets, a couple more already been given away

my older two reciting prayers for their beloved grandpa

my older two reciting prayers for their beloved grandpa

cameron flowers for my beloved father

cameron roses for my beloved father

my beloved father, rest in peace

my beloved father, rest in peace

my beloved uncle, rest in peace

my beloved uncle, rest in peace

run to you

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 My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.

A father is neither an anchor to hold us back, nor a sail to take us there, he is a guiding light whose love show us the way.

My father didn’t tell me how to live, he lived, and let me watch him do it.

my late beloved father, at 17 going on 18 (photo taken on 14/2/1955, Malaya)

my only son, looking more like my father each day

my only son, looking more like my father each day

my father, my son

my father, my son

I miss my late father, very very much. I sometimes wonder is it because he is no longer with us, that I long for his presence? Or is it because I have some regrets deep within me, wishing for the hundredth time for the chance to tell/show him how much he meant to me? I first heard this beautiful melancholy song during my son’s school concert recently. I don’t know why, but my late father came to mind instantly. When I feel bogged down with the strains of life, I wish he was there to pick me up, like he always did. Mind you, my hubby does an excellent job in doing so these days, but the little girl in me still craves for her father. The very first man I ever loved, the one who taught me how to love in return. To love deeply with all my heart, no holds barred! Oh Papa, I miss you so very much!!! But I look at your only grandson now and I see you all over again, Praise be to God! I found some solace in my grieving heart, 13 years on…

EVEN IF YOU CANNOT HEAR MY VOICE, I’LL BE RIGHT BESIDE YOU DEAR

REST IN PEACE PAPA (1937 – 2001)

funeral day

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After a horrible night of strong gales, we woke up to a fine bright day. It was Uncle Lionel’s funeral day. On the way to the church, I saw clusters of daffodils here and there, it’s a sign that Spring is well on its way. Such a glorious day (Alhamdulillah) but tinged with a bit of sadness as we paid our last respects to our dear neighbour, Uncle Lionel. He passed away so suddenly almost 3 weeks ago, the coroner confirmed that it was due to cardiac arrest, his 90-year-old heart had simply stopped. Somehow I feel a bit better knowing he had died in his sleep, not from a heart attack as everyone had thought in the beginning. There were about 30 people at the simple but beautiful service; Uncle Lionel’s relatives, his old friends, acquaintances, his former neighbour and wife (whose house we bought) and us; my hubby, our middle daughter and myself. I had to choke back tears when his coffin was brought in, followed by his relatives who were all teary.

His beloved grand-nephew (our age) whom we’ve befriended gave a lovely tribute, relating his sweet memories with his grand-uncle during his lifetime. I’ve also learnt today that Uncle Lionel was in the army during World War 2, he fought in the Far East. Makes me wonder whether he was in my homeland which was known as Malaya at that time. Before we knew it, the funeral service was over and a classical song which he loved was played whilst his coffin was carried out for burial at the cemetery. He was to be buried on top of his beloved younger brother who passed away 8 years ago. We then went out to pay our condolences to the mourners; his niece (in her 60s) and his grand-nieces who helped took care of him in his final years. His only grand-nephew then re-appeared (he helped carry the coffin in and back to the hearse) and shook hands with my hubby, he was really grateful that we had come. Uncle Lionel was a good soul, we’ve been very privileged to have him as our neighbour for the last 3.5 years. Our middle daughter, our most sensitive child, had said that she’ll ask God to grant her wish to see Uncle Lionel once again when she gets to Heaven. She truly misses him. Farewell Uncle Lionel, the precious memories shall remain. I shall never forget you and Winter’s end 2014…

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the church where the funeral service was held

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my hubby and daughter as we arrived for the service

white lilies decorated his coffin

white lilies decorated his coffin (courtesy of Google images)

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leaving the church, a bit sad

he was in a hearse very similar to this one (courtesy of Google images)

he was in a hearse very similar to this one, daffodils have also appeared like in here (courtesy of Google images)

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to God we belong and to God we shall return

R.I.P. Uncle Lionel

Uncle Lionel shall be missed

UNCLE LIONEL’S FINAL SONG…

moon river

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the lone tulip at uncle lionel's last spring

the lone tulip at uncle lionel’s last spring

My 90 year old next door neighbour, Uncle Lionel, passed away suddenly last Wednesday. It came as a shock to us all, namely his few relatives who cared for his daily well-being and us, his immediate neighbour. Uncle Lionel was never married, he lived alone in his house since his younger brother died 8 years ago (also a bachelor) at 79 years of age (of illness). Uncle Lionel had lived in the house next door since he was 12 years old. When we first moved to our house 3.5 years ago, we didn’t have much interaction with him. He kept to himself, we hardly saw him. Some even said he was rather unfriendly. But my hubby and children knocked on his door from time to time to chat with him. Little by little, they broke the ice. Although he lived alone, we didn’t worry too much about him as he had a few relatives (niece and grand nephews/grand nieces) who visited and phoned him regularly. Now and then I would ask my son to pop round his house with a box of chocolates, cakes or biscuits. In Summer/Autumn we would pluck his fruits in the allotment for him. He never went out much at all, unless his relatives took him away on Christmas or other special occasions. I have only spoken to him a couple of times, during the rare moments when he was stood in his driveway saying goodbye to his relatives or when in the garden with another relative who helped maintain his derelict property.

To be honest, I wasn’t quite certain how to treat him. He seemed aloof, a private person, yet I knew he must be rather lonely. I started giving him cards and chocolates at Christmas, I tried to reach out to him further. There were many times when he wouldn’t answer the door, even though he was in. My hubby and my son would knock repeatedly but would fail to speak to him. It would frustrate us at times. But we put it down to his slight hearing loss, of having fallen asleep with the TV on or simply too slow to move about particularly if he had been upstairs. It could also be because he was afraid to open the door sometimes, after all he was a vulnerable old man living alone. I remember how my hubby helped call the police and comforted him one night when a drunken man tried to smash down his front door. We couldn’t blame him for not answering his door at all as much as we would have liked him too. Recently, however, Uncle Lionel seemed to reach out to us. We couldn’t deliver his Christmas card and chocolates personally as he didn’t answer the door as usual despite many attempts. We slipped the card through his door and left it at that. We were surprised to hear a couple of phone messages from him when we returned from my in-laws at New Year’s. He mumbled something about missing our visit and the children. We didn’t think much of it, though we were quite surprised that he actually called us (first time). Weather then went downhill; cold, wet, windy and it got dark by 4pm. My family also came down with colds and coughs one by one this Winter. But I could still hear Uncle Lionel next door, as I’ve done for the past 3.5 years. I’ve always listened out for him. His TV would be on, his favourite songs would be playing, his voice could be heard on the phone.

Until that persistent knock that came late last wintry Wednesday night, with the voice of his grand nephew who told me Uncle Lionel had passed away in his living room with the TV on, possibly due to a heart attack. I woke my hubby up from sleep (still recovering from fever) and he rushed next door to be with Uncle Lionel’s relatives. He came home a while later and we made tea for them. He stayed with them till past midnight, after the undertaker’s been and gone. I looked through my bedroom window with silent tears and said goodbye to Uncle Lionel as I watched him being driven away. For the past week I’ve been really down; I feel so sad and guilty. I know I wouldn’t have been able to prevent his death, he was meant to go at the appointed time as ordained by God. But how I wish I could have put a smile on his face one last time before he died. His relatives told us how he had actually bought some fruits for my children when he called us at New Year’s. We never went round to pick them up. His relatives also told us how he often spoke fondly of us as a family, I believe he was actually warming up to us finally after being neighbours for a few years. We’re from different cultures and backgrounds, I suppose it took some time for us to get close to one another. I can’t turn back the clock, nor can I wish for more time to be an extra attentive neighbour to Uncle Lionel. But I shall always remember this episode in my life, I’ll never forget the sweet old Englishman next door who has taught me several of life’s valuable lessons. Farewell Uncle Lionel, you shall remain in our hearts for many years to come. I’m playing your song now, the one I hear blaring from your CD player every afternoon without fail, the song I myself sang with all my heart during music lessons at boarding school 3 decades ago…

season’s end

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When the pretty birds have flown,
And you feel hurt and alone,
Be strong and carry on,
And remember that life goes on. 
― Mouloud Benzadi

The passing of my dear uncle last weekend marked this season’s end, autumn has now made way for the early winter days here in England. The temperature has gone down to single digits and the days are so short, sunrise is currently at 8am and sunset is at 4pm! The trees are almost all bare (except for the evergreens), the autumn leaves scattered to the ground. I took the picture below with my mobile phone camera whilst in the car with my hubby just before sunset last weekend. Winter is definitely here to stay for the next few months!

trees bare at sunset

I still feel a bit down from having lost my favourite uncle, but life goes on as they say. My husband was away on a work trip in Tokyo when I received the heart breaking news, it was my 4 children who comforted me physically. As word eventually got around, my in-laws, neighbours and friends called to check on me and paid their condolences. My best friend was also there for me (despite the distance which separates us), as she was when I lost my father 12 years ago. Even though my heart felt very heavy indeed, I had to pick myself up by that evening. I simply could not ignore this sweet and thoughtful note below from my middle daughter.

a sweet note from my middle daughter

My beloved hubby finally returned shortly after and I heaved a sigh of relief, this is the man who understood me at times when I didn’t quite understand myself. I simply cried my heart out to him, he consoled me just as he did when I lost my father. He had told me to prepare myself when I first found out my uncle was going downhill. But one can never be prepared for such a thing, it’s always going to be a shock. Though I still felt a bit numb a few days later, I carried on with my daily routine. I increased my prayers and reading of the Holy Quran, certainly the best sources of comfort and healing at the time of grief. As I watched my youngest daughter play with her friend one afternoon, I realised how much I am needed by my husband and children. No matter how sad I feel inside, I must be happy around them. I have to carry on smiling and do my best for my family. Just the way my dad and uncle did. This is what life is all about. It’s about living, loving and being there for one another. It’s about carrying out our roles in life, as ordained by our Creator. Yes, we make mistakes along the way, we live and learn. We seek forgiveness and we strive to do our best always till our last breath.

my youngest playing happily with her friend

My hubby took a day off and escorted me to a lovely Indian restaurant one evening, whilst our children were at Madrasa (evening religious school) for a couple of hours. It’s been a long while since we went on a dinner date alone like this. We’re the sort who love having the children around us 24/7. But once in a blue moon, it’s rather nice to have some quality time to ourselves. It’s crucial for us to remember how we started off and the feelings that came along with it. It certainly enhanced my feelings of being loved, appreciated and needed. It made me feel all good, positive and happy once again.

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lovely ambience at the restaurant

As we sat there enjoying each other’s company and the delicious cuisines, I also listened very intently to the calming Bollywood music which played in the background. I recognised one particular number towards the end of our evening, from the movie video my dad had borrowed for me once upon a time. He had wanted to cheer me up and knew how much I loved Bollywood movies back then. As I stared at the candle light which flickered by our dinner table, I suddenly realised something very important. My light has not gone out yet; it shall continue to flicker for now. I shall continue to live and love, and I shall carry those who have left me close to my heart. They will always be a part of me. Winter may be here with it’s bleakness, but Inshallah the seasons will continue to change for me…and I shall soon smile again.

hih;o

my light will continue flickering for now

The memorable Bollywood song that was playing in the background…live and love sincerely and whole-heartedly…