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Inspiring Brave Lady

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Grief forced you to absorbs wisdom from the situation that keeps your tears running. It’s the kind of grief that made you reflects instead of cutting your arm. And my sorrow yesterday, makes me learn that how you die is actually matters. So look where you’re going and what you’ll be doing, Eka..

This is a tribute to a brave lady who took care of my mother since she’s still 8 years old. We called her Emak, or Mother, because she’s very much like a mother for everyone who knew her.

Her name is Siti Salamah. She’s actually my aunt from my mother’s side. But my mother called her Emak, referred her as a mother. Because my mother grew up under her care. She’s a kind, patient, loving lady who taught me how to be brave just by seeing her embracing her challenging life as a single mother of five (plus my mother – so that makes it six), and a grandmother of (atleast) fifteen grandchildren!

She never complained of being tired to do all the work, but there has come the time for her to rest, on December 4th, 2011 – or 8th of Muharram, 1433 Hijriah. Her long holiday took her away from all of us, until the date being set for all of us to meet up again. By the time it finally comes, I hope she still remembers me and gives me the warm hugs she never forgets to give me in greetings and goodbyes.

It was a beautiful sunny Sunday morning. No signs of how dark the skies would be by the end of the day. It was family time, and for giving her our last respect, we were united once again as family.

Emak was the portrait of a feminist that I adore. And I dont adore just any feminist, for most of those who called themselves feminists, are nothing but emasculated women. She’s different. She was a lady with all her feminine grace. A dutiful wife and mother, who devoted her life for her family, and doing it with the utmost sincerity. She was also a woman who encouraged other women to fulfill their task as a complete woman, who plays a big role in family, in society and no doubt, in religion. Despite all the things that made her life unperfect, she bravely took the responsibility to make the most of any situation in her family, and never regret anything or even for a little while, asking why those things happened to her. She took all the burden, but never called them burdens, for she believe ;

On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns. ( Pray: )  “Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget or fall into error; Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which You did lay on those before us; Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Protector; help us against those who stand against Faith”. (Q.S Al Baqarah : 286)

This respectful lady who respect others, was appointed to lead a prayer in a congregation of about 30 people in that one Sunday morning. She was among her friends and people who respect her. And it was not the first time for her to lead prayers. After the jama’ah (congregation) read Al Fatihah, the opening surah of the Holy Quran, she’s about the lead another Quran recitation of surah Yaasin. Just as she read the word Yaa.. and not yet complete the whole short verse, she collapsed.

I can sensed the whole room who bathe her and came for final respect, were envy her. She’s obviously in the state of Husnul Khotimah, a beautiful end of life. How can she not? Her last word was Al Quran. Her last company was the congregation who continue to say every beautiful name of Allah. And even if some said that she died over heart attack, there were no bluish bruises on her lips, fingers or toes. It was as sudden as heart attack, but she didnt look as if she was suffered. For she never in her life, appeared to be a suffered person, despite any burdens on her shoulder.

Everyone who came to see here one last time, men and women, hundreds of them, burst in tears, hold the pain of missing someone so great yet so humble who used to be around. I learn alot to be who I am now, from my father and mother. And my mother learned so much of being a great mother from Emak. She’s one of the source of our family wisdom, just by being a simple woman.

That afternoon, as how all muslims should be buried before the sun sets, we deliver her to her grave in her hometown, about an hour drive from her home. She’s buried close to her late husband, whom I briefly met when I was a kid.

The whole family came from every corner of Jakarta, and even her daughter who lives in Sumatera, managed to flown to Jakarta and say her final goodbye. We came to take her to her last resting place, where she will be left alone.

Muslims believe in four worlds; the womb, this world, the grave and the hereafter (more about it read here and here). And in the world after a muslim died, we will be facing two angels who asked our souls questions ; Who is your Lord? What is your religion? Who is the man who was sent among you? How did you come to know the answers for those questions?

And as we take her there, we know -Insya Allah- Emak will calmly yet bravely answer those questions soon to be asked ; My Lord is Allah.. My religion is Islam.. The man who was sent among us is The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad.. And I came to know these things because I read the book of Allah, the Holy Quran, believed it, and declared it to be true. 

She can only answered with the truth and nothing but the truth. And the truth she spoke will give her free pass to the gate of Heaven, Gardens of Bliss. She was so blessed for having the courage to live this life truthfully, and died in a beautiful way.

I will surely miss the way she hugs me. She always astound whenever she listens to my stories related to my work as a photojournalist. Always told me to be careful, and never missed the chance to remind me to get married soon. Guess that’s one big day that she couldn’t attend. Warm hugs and kisses on both cheeks were never absent everytime we meet and by the time we said goodbye. On the day she died, I cant give her the kiss, because am afraid to feel her cold body. For I only want to remember her warmth. Am gonna miss you, Emak.. This is you, on our last Eid. Love you.


					
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Written by nickmatulhuda

December 5, 2011 at 10:39 am

3 Responses

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  1. Impressive story.

    • thank you. no surprise on how life taught us many things. but how learning from death can make you actually sit down and think, for me, is really something. muslims are told to remember death. how can you remember things you never experienced? you remember others’. 🙂

      nickmatulhuda

      December 7, 2011 at 12:04 am

  2. One of my reasons for visiting Indonesia is the rememberance of our mother’s death just three years back. I never told you, but where could I do this the best as on her native land, and gave it a definite place in time. So here I am, back in Europe where everything is cold and grey in this time of year, while life goes on.


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