It’s around 7pm in Jakarta – 10.30pm here in Adelaide and I finished my last message to Mama around half an hour ago, when one of my sisters called me and gave me a chance to talk to her one last time. She’s already in a coma, and medically, the doctor mentioned that the brain haemorrhage had affected her hearing and reasoning. I believe that her spirit is still in there and she could hear my last message.
There are so many things that I wanted to tell her – but how could I string a coherent sentence when all I wanted to say was, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”? In my tears, I also apologised for not being able to be with her in what could be her last moments. Her heart rate was 35 bpm when the hospital told my sisters to return to the hospital quickly. After I finished my message to her – her heart rate dropped to 27 bpm. I let her know that I’m at peace if she wants to leave … She’s holding on, for now. After all, I know her to be a stubborn, strong woman.
It’s my faith that sustains me that she’s not leaving to enter the void, but she will be reunited with Papa, my younger brother, and my eldest sister – when she’s ready to go. She will see God.
When Papa passed on in 2011, I remember that I was on worship leading duty at church – my third sister sent me a message to keep on praying as Papa was critical. I carried on with the service – and when I checked my phone afterwards, my sister told me that Papa was gone.
I still feel robbed, somehow.
No, I’m not mad at God – but there’s an ache that is hard to explain – the privilege of seeing Papa for the last time that I unconsciously traded with the life that I’m leading now, far away from home. The next time I saw Papa was when he was already in the casket. Asleep. When my siblings talked about Papa’s last days, I could only listen and soak up every detail – as I was not there to witness them all.
It’s a similar feeling now – it’s part of the same cost for being a migrant that I continue to pay. Missing first breaths and final moments, birthday cakes, and large banquets. I am hugely thankful that I got the chance to thank Mama on the phone – even if it’s medically futile, they say. It’s just too bad I won’t be able to come home this time – for God knows how long. In normal times, I would’ve booked an earliest flight to Jakarta to be with my family …
I will write more about Mama in my future blog posts – writing was cathartic in the past when I lost my younger brother, Papa, and my eldest sister.
Somehow, I feel so alone.