42 years ago, as Mak reached her 20th birthday, I came into this world with the loudest cry. My birth became sort of a birthday celebration and I was the best present for Mak as she had lost a baby boy a year before I was born. I was a heavy baby with more than 4 kilos weight when I was born through a normal delivery. Imagine the pain and the ordeal Mak had to bear. Imagine the excitement and the eagerness to hold me as she heard my cry. That was 42 years ago.
As I grew up, I was never introduced to birthday celebrations or parties in my family. No cakes, no candles. My parents were busy making sure we had food on our table on the daily basis that such party was perceived such a luxury. It was during my time at the boarding school that I was exposed to birthday parties and celebrations and began looking forward to having one every year, since. It was something great to mention and to remember. The silly acts, the fun time, the wild moments were part of the adventure. Yes, been there, done that.
I remembered having some extraordinary birthday celebrations with friends. The cake and candles were meaningless without the music and loads of laughter. It was like: Yeah! I am now sweet sixteen or with the ticket to freedom. And as I got hooked and hitched to MH, I put a strong demand that He must remember my birthday and must give me a present. I was so determined with the agenda of accumulating birthday presents from him that I announced my forthcoming birthday weeks in advance, knowing that he is not good (can't say bad la, huh?) with remembering numbers. I told him that: I don't want you to give me the moon and the stars, but when it comes to my birthday, I'm waiting for your call... the wish, the present, the surprise.... (Was I cruel?) And the list can go on and on and on...
Life has somehow changed my views about birthdays. Where it used to be merrily celebrated, now it is more of a solemn session. Where before we spent an outing together for a movie or a candle light dinner, now it is more of pondering and engaging in some profound thinking about life on this earth and the verily about the hereafter. When the cancer came into my life, reaching 21st July is a real blessing from Allah, for it means, another year to be able to wish Mak and kiss her cheeks and another year to be with MH, the kids, Bapak and my siblings, not to forget to still be around in the blog world... with all of you.
This date since then, becomes the counter for my time here. Last year, we were all became upset, sad and in bitterness when I got my second cancer attack with its spreading to 4 parts of my body. Last year, Mak felt like losing her soul when I was beaten again with the cancer recurrence. So this year, I pray hard that Allah grant my wish not to break her heart again with the sad news. Alhamdulillah, up until today, we receive no calls from the hospital. Allah gives me some time to cheer Mak.
A birthday celebrated means a step closer to meet Our Maker. To some, age is a mere number, but to me, it carries more weight than just the number alone. That's how I felt. A birthday celebrated means a moment for me to realize Mak's wrinkles had taken away her youth and her strength had much diminished. And those of mine too. And big questions always hit my mind: Is what I call a good deed is a good deed? What should I bring for my next journey for the life after death?
Celebrating this day, is no longer fun. It should not be fun, anyway. This is the day that I must engage in the deeper thought, about the life now and the blessings I have gotten all this while and about the life later and the savings I must bring with me..... 42 years is the time I have stayed on earth. From that number, how many years are used for the purpose of having a good life later? Astaghfirullah… forgive me Dear Lord, for all my sins.
To be allowed to live for 42 years, that’s rahmah. To be given a chance to taste life in its fuller meanings, that’s nikmah. To experience a surge of friendship that transcends beyond race, religion and skin colour, that’s love. To be able to bounce back to life every time I crumple and collapse trying to survive cancer is strength. All those are blessings, it comes in many shapes and forms.
I am blessed, that's a subdued feeling conquering me this very moment. Alhamdulillah... praise and grace is to Allah for the beautiful life given to me, for all the chances to correct and improve my life, for all the blessings as the sign of God's love and mercy.
To Mak, Happy 62nd Birthday and May Allah grant Mak more Rahmah, Barakah, Nikmah and Mawaddah.... Amiin. I love you Mak.
"Ya Allah, mudahkan segala urusanku... Ringankan yang sukar bagiku, hanya Kau yang membuka simpul yang ketat, merungkai kusut yang masai, dan berikan kami kesudahan yang baik... Limpahkan kami dengan rahmat dan kasih sayangMu. Dakaplah kami dalam maghfirahMu Ya Robb... Terangilah jalan kehidupan kami dengan cahaya iman sebagai penyuluh, bukakan hati kami dengan pimpinanMu... Masukkan kami dari pintuMu yang benar dan keluarkan kami dari pintuMu yang benar... Amiin Ya Robbal Alamiin.”
Sesungguhnya kasih saying Allah begitu melimpah ruah!