Today marks the fourth year, our beloved father, Lt. Col. (Rtd) Syed Abdul Aziz Al Bukhary left us.

We were all by his side the morning of 7th October 2003. In the morning, he looked very cheerful. Although warded in the Intensive Care Unit, he managed to attend to all the visitors who swamped the lobby to meet him. Mostly are the extended family members and also family friends.

I only managed to spend less than five minutes with him in the morning. Our trademark conversation pursue with much interference from those waiting to see him. Bah asked me, “When did you arrive back?” I just smile, not wanting to lie to him about my non-attendance for the past few days.

“How is Baling?” He asked thinking that I just arrived back from filming in Baling, Kedah.

“How are you feeling?” I quipped.

“No good, tired” and I was told that he refused to let the doctor to do the tapping to remove the fluid from his lung. He has been so used to that procedure before, almost a weekly affair for him.

“I shall be outside if you need me” that was our last conversation.

Around two thirty, we were call in by the doctor and we were informed that Bah’s blood pressure has been constant in heading south.

I decided to make a move and settle everything at home and comeback later. Before I left, I walk towards his bed but stop few meters away as I saw he was talking to his sister. I left without saying anything.

I made a brief stop at Jaya Supermarket to buy some groceries as I anticipated that I shall be spending all night at the hospital. When I reached home around four pm, my eldest sister rang me and said that Bah has slipped into uncertainty. He is between conscious and unconscious.

It took me almost an hour to reach the hospital and met my sister from Bangi at the car park. As I made my way towards the bed, I saw my other sisters and my brother was there with my step mum. Next to my father, stand a man in olive green suit.

I saw my father was lying there and breathing like ‘fish out of the water’. Both his eyes were wide open almost staring at the ceiling. Nevertheless, the man n the olive green suit really caught me.

In the nick of time, my mind told me that he must be the representative from the hospital. “This must be it”, I said.

He kept staring at the monitor with all the stats. Whenever the oxygen level increased, he will look at my father. Whenever the oxygen level drop to zero, he will shake his head and throw his view outside the window where the crows were flying home.

After almost an hour, he made few step back and turn to me, only then I realised, that he is Tun Hanif, my father’s neighbour and pillar of strength. Exactly a year before that day, Tun Hanif had financed my father’s medical trip and medication in Kunming, China. Tun excused himself and left.

I took over the position and slipped my hand under his neck and raise his head a bit. I whispered the syahadat few times followed by few verses from the Quran.

About seven something, my brother and I went down for cigarette. We just inhaled our Marlboro and Dunhill without any conversation. Deep inside, we knew were going to miss the third member of the smoking club. We were the two culprits that always sneak the ciggie to Bah after he officially quit smoking when he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

While my brother continued with his second stick, I made my way back to the ward. Around seven-thirty pm, the nurse-in-charge came to us and told us that the time has come to bid farewell. Until today, I am still amused by such accuracy.

He passed away peacefully surrounded by all his children and family members.

Tuhanku
Dalam termangu
Aku masih menyebut namamu

Biar susah sungguh
mengingat Kau penuh seluruh

CahayaMu panas suci
tinggal kerdip lilin di kelam sunyi

Tuhanku

aku hilang bentuk
remuk

 

Tuhanku

aku mengembara di negeri asing

Tuhanku
di pintuMu aku mengetuk
aku tidak bisa berpaling

(Chairil Anwar – 13 November 1943)