Although the days are slowly lengthening again, having passed the Winters Solstice last week, winter still has a tight grip over Adelaide. While the sun is keeping the day warm around noon, it is still quite cold in the morning and it is still depressingly dark and cold at 5.30pm. I am having mild symptoms of masuk angin – the Indonesian version of the common cold. Indonesians believe that when your body feels out of sorts, it is because some wind has somehow entered your body and made you sick. I have taken a sachet of the Indonesian herbal medicine that I brought over with me when I went to Indonesia in February this year. I forgot to top up my inventory when I went there again earlier this month. I think I should be alright until the year-end.
The cold has made me a tad melancholic again – it’s easy to do especially when it’s cold and dark outside. I wore the cream cardigan that I brought over from Indonesia today, and when my churchmates saw me wearing it on the Sunday before last, they asked whether it was new and commented that they liked it a lot. I just smiled and didn’t say anything. I don’t know whether it would spook them if they knew that I was wearing my late father’s cardigan. Mama had asked me to bring it along with me when I left Bandung and rather than making excuses not to (like I normally would in the past), I simply obeyed and packed it in my bag.
Generally, I would be quite particular in wearing somebody else’ s clothes, including other family members’. I take after Papa who was also quite specific in what he liked or disliked. I remember that he would smell the plate and utensils that were presented and if they still smelled unclean, he would want a different set to use. Perhaps obsessive-compulsive streaks run in the family. 🙂 I don’t sniff my plate or utensils before I eat, but if there is a speck of dried leftovers on my plate or utensils, I would quietly put them on the sink and get a new one from the cupboard. Whilst the rest of the families (or my friends as well) would feel quite acceptable in tasting or picking each other’s food during mealtime, Dad would not want to share nor taste anybody else’s food. I am also the same in that regard.
So, it is quite unusual for me to agree to bring Papa’s cardigan with me – I don’t know why. Maybe I felt a tad sentimental when I obeyed Mama. I have worn it a couple of times and when I wear it along with my dark-rimmed glasses and my Irish flatcap, I would look like somebody out of the 1950’s. Especially if I happen to drive Burton as well. 🙂
It’s been three weeks since Papa’s passing and as I mentioned before, the grieving is shallow compared to the experience that I had when I lost my younger brother. I just miss the fact that I have a father. All of the siblings have now continued with their lives – we all grieve in our own ways, I suppose, and since Papa’s departure was not unexpected, it has been quite a relatively easy journey to pass. My wearing of Papa’s cardigan is my own way of remembering him and mourning in my own way – I continue my life over here in Adelaide, I laugh, I joke, I smile – but there is a spot in my heart reserved for a stubborn old man who used to irritate me so much, but nevertheless loved me and was proud of me. I loved him in my own way as well and my grieving is still somehow suspended compared to my siblings – I wasn’t there when my Dad was suffering before he passed away so I didn’t have the experience to grieve properly. I wish I had been there to say goodbye and to pray with him. Although it is an easier grieving process and although God has given me an enormous amount of joy and strength, there is a little part of me that is still in mourning. I was watching Kungfu Panda for the first time on TV last week, and when the credits rolled to a melody that was distinctively chinese, I ended up crying when I remembered that Papa used to love chinese melodies. Out of all movies, Kungfu Panda music made me cry.
I miss you.