You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone

When I'm gone (when I'm gone)
When I'm gone (when I'm gone)
You're gonna miss me when I'm gone

You're gonna miss me by my walk 
You're gonna miss me by my talk
You're gonna miss me when I'm gone

This song kept repeating in my mind as we drove from the airport to my grandmother’s humble home. Scorching hot sun, tall buildings, careless drivers, the same trees, the same route, everything looked familiar yet so foreign. The Pearl of the Orient, the place where I was treated like a living princess, my comfort zone, my home.

As we reached the area, I looked at the house with swollen eyes. I knew what was coming.

There my aunt was, eyes all bruised, sadness towered over her. All she could do was cry as she saw us and embraced us in her arms.

I’ve already prepared myself for this. But I just had to peak through the open door to see if it was true.

Whenever anyone was about to enter the house, you would see her petite frame sitting on the beige sofa across the door. She’ll be in her Baju Kedah and kain batik with a smile across her face. But the smile and the small human was nowhere to be found.

She should be at the back like she normally do when she has lunch, I comforted myself. I rushed to the back only to see an empty chair.

She could be in the shower, I again whispered to my heart. And so I scrambled to the toilet to only be looking at an empty blue shower.

I ran out of reasons to tell myself that this was all untrue. I was a day too late to see her being sent away. I still can’t tell my heart that she’s gone, forever.

*  *  *

We were bracing for it. We knew she wouldn’t shout but the least that we expected her to do was to tell me not to go ahead with the relationship. She had a stern and a defeat look as she gazed upon a picture of me, wearing a traditional black and white Kebaya, standing very closely to a very handsome amo (white person) in a suit and tie. It was obvious that we attended a formal dinner.

“Ni la boyfriend Na, Bik,” as my dad spread a cheeky smile across his face, trying to persuade my grandmother that the man in the picture was in fact my boyfriend. Though he knew too well that this wasn’t true.

With a long blank look and after a good solid minute, she finally said, “OK. Kalau dah sama suka, Bik nak buat macam mana lagi? Lawanya dia. Dia dah kerja ka dok blajaq lagi?” The fact that she acknowledged this ‘relationship’ was fine and that this amo as a very good-looking man had us all roared in laughter.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with mixed marriages. It’s just very uncommon and my grandmother had already bickered at me about finding a good Malay Muslim boy years ago even before I left Malaysia. I guess this amo was the only exception.

With tears in his eyes, my dad said, “Ken melawak ja. Ni bukan boyfriend betoi, ni player ragbi. Nama dia Richard Kahui. Dia main untuk New Zealand.”

She finally realized that this whole thing was a joke. Like a good sport, she even joked that Kahui should had been my boyfriend and she laughed away. A laughter that I would never be able to listen to again.

I knew that there must be a reason why I couldn’t send her away. Why Allah chose us to be away from her or why we were a little too late to see her. Though I may not be able to figure out what it is, I do know it’s for the best. Allah must have planned everything so perfectly that even the greatest minds could not have created this brilliant plan.

There is goodness in every single thing that happens to us even if we think it is the worst day of our lives. Life is a perception. It is truly up to you if you decide to accept everything as His tests or detest life and lead it on your own.

If only I continued with my studies, which I have been contemplating for the past few months, I would not breathe in this humid Malaysian air. If only I had a full time job, I would definitely not have the chance to go to my cousin’s engagement ceremony. If only I was still studying in Dunedin, doing a different course, I would have not known about my long lost family.

You know that jerky feeling you get when you fall in your dream and you’d suddenly wake up? This felt like that for me. A wakeup call reminding me that I don’t have much time left. There’s still so much to do for myself, my family, my friends and people around me.
We were created to feel sadness, pain and loss but without these, we would not be introduced to happiness, hope and love. We have to be grateful that we are being tested. It is a sign that He hasn’t given up hope on our flawed self regardless of how many times we have wronged ourselves and Him. What is a journey if there isn't any bumps on the road? We just have to pick ourselves up and keep going.

Hug your parents, hug your grandparents, your siblings, and all your family members. Seek forgiveness from them. Reconcile with them. Because you're gonna regret it when the time is up. It is time to focus on the living and make dua for those who have left us. Even though it has already been a week, this loss will forever be tainted in my heart.

May Allah place her in the best level of Jannah and forgive all her wrong-doings in life. Ameen.

I’ve got my ticket for the long way ‘round
The one with the prettiest of views
It’s got mountains, it’s got rivers
It’s got sights that give you shivers

You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone