Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Subdued Ramadan

My niece Amirah Annuar. Pix taken in Perth recently where she went for a well-deserved break. We love you lots and lots, Myra!

In the not too distant past, there was always this tinge of excitement in the air each time Ramadan arrived. The blessed month always brought the family closer together.

The kids would somehow be extra attentive and caring. Perhaps it was the realisation of an approaching Syawal, thus sharing the apprehension of their (then) single mom coping alone on a shoestring budget.

I remember only too well the times when the working ones took me shopping for new clothes and raya cookies. Ramadan and Syawal spending were then kept to the barest minimum.

Those were the days soon after my company had gone bust and I was between jobs. Money was hard to come by; I could hardly afford anything on my own.

Ramadan will always be bittersweet for me. It was in Ramadan more than a decade ago, just a few days short of Hari Raya, that I was in receipt of a legal missive threatening me with bankruptcy.

It was bad enough that the PR outfit I started from scratch went under in the aftermath of the 1997 economic meltdown (here), resulting in the loss of my house to settle business debts.

Being such threatened took me to a new level of depression never before experienced. It was as though I was trapped in quicksand, and sinking fast.

I remember bawling my eyes out reading the letter, feeling helpless and in utter despair. There was then nothing left; I was on ground zero with zilch to my name.

But I had four lovely kids whom I loved with every fibre of my being, and I had Him, to Whom I held fast. I knew everything happened for a reason and my faith in Him was absolute.

Although that was the lowest ebb of my life, crawled out of the pits of despair I did. No doubt that is all history, but I have never forgotten those trying times when putting food on the table was hardship unto itself.

Thank be to Allah swt the threat of bankruptcy is no more, nor are there financial issues to clog my brain this Ramadan. I have been blessed many times over since those desperate days; Alhamdulillah syukur.

All the same, this year's Ramadan is beset with emotional turmoil. My niece Amirah, the eldest child of my sister Ana, is a sweet young lady of 25 who lost a leg to cancer five years ago.

She is now back in hospital with complications of the lungs. Despite several doses of chemotherapy, the cancer cells are back with a vengeance, ravaging her already frail body.

The prognosis isn't good, says her dad when we visited her in KLH last week. Her situation is critical and right now all we are left with are hopes and prayers.

And yesterday we paid another visit to our close friend Rahmat, recently diagnosed with lung cancer, stage four.

He was all skin and bones, very much thinner than the last time we saw him a month ago. He tried hard to speak; the words came out low, slow and raspy, but audible.

Like I said, there isn't much to be joyous about at the moment. Sorrow weighs heavily in my heart for I too feel like I am living on borrowed time..


Kak Teh said...

Dearest Puteri, thank you for sharing your story. I for one will be the first to admit, I despair quite easily. But Alhamdulillah Allah sent me a soulmate who always remind me to be thankful for whatever little that we have. You are a very resilient person and you have done well.
This Ramadhan too, I am made more aware of those less fortunate than us..Our prayers to Amirah and Rahmat.

Selamat berpuasa to you, pak abu and family.

Wan Sharif said...

Salam Ramadhan to you, ASH and family
Wow, Semuga kegigihan Puteri diterima sebagai ibadah.. .Saya teringat ayat LayukallifuLLAH..
Semuga ketenangan akan menyusul dengan kesyukuran dan keredhaan Puteri terhadap segala ujian yang begitu getir..
setuju dengan Kak Teh "be thankful for whatever little..."

Pp said...

doa saya for Amirah dan Rahmat.

Cat-in-Sydney said...

Aunty Puteri,
This is also the month where we should count our blessings and be thankful for what we have, plus doubling and tripling our efforts in charity.... Our prayers for Amirah and Rahmat. You take care of your health too, OK? roar! roar! roar!

luahfikiran said...

Salam Puteri,
Take care. Selamat Puasa

Cik Puan Kamil said...

Aunty May, my prayers for your niece and friend.

And your children are sweet... you are lucky...

Anonymous said...

I love you !

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Kak Teh - dugaan bulan puasa. redha saja. like they say, betapa berat mata memandang, berat lagi bahu yang memikul.

Wan, Pp, CPK - ameen to that.

Cat - 'twas nice meeting up with your mama the other day, cat. hope she's back safe and sound in sydney by now. yes, my knee is getting better but it's now the elbow's turn to hurt like hell..

LF - tq and selamatg berpuasa to you and family too, LF.

Anon - love you too, hon :-)

Kitchen Guardian said...

kak puteri,

walaupun i have so much to be thankful and to celebrate, but this year is a year of deaths and loads of challenges....i can only doa for your niece, terasa sebak dio hati teringat aruah sil and yday naz called sobbing wt news abt her mom intubated, now dah pulang ke rahmat allah......Allah nak remind i to be closer to him, tt's all i can reason out out of all this....selamat berpuasa kak puteri, on sat pi dcengkih while hantar anak anak pi lorna...teringat you!

Zendra-Maria said...

Insya Allah, introspection makes for you a successful Ramadan :)

Anonymous said...

salam puan,

if u don't mind me asking....was your niece a student at uitm johor back in 2002/2003?
she looks so much like a junior back then who also named amira...

tq... & selamat berpuasa...


Iron Butterfly said...

i pray that Allah will give her strength and relieves her pain. Amin.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

yani - such challenges, ya.. hanya Dia tahu hikmahnya..

zen - ameen to that..

adib - yes adib, she did her investment analysis dip in uitm (segamat campus) before moving on to the main campus in shah alam for her finance degree.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

IB - ameen to that..

Tommy Yewfigure said...

Hi Puteri, such is life, you take the good & the bad as they come, and hey u didn’t do too badly either way. In the word of Aretha Franklin, u got my R.E.S.P.E.C.T, take care TCB, (taking care of business). And be strong for those around u.

Selamat berpuasa,


kay_leeda said...

Kak Puteri,

Yang pastinya Ramadhan punyai cerita gembira, sedih duka lara bagi kita semua. Hanya yg maha Esa sahaja apa yg tersirat dan tersirat di sebalik semua nya ini.

Our doas for yr niece Amira and bro Rahmat. InshaAllah mendapat keberkatan semperna bulan yg barakah ini.

Selamat menjalani ibadah berpuasa to you and family.

Salam Ramadhan said...

Salam Puan
Semoga Amirah tabah menghadapi dugaan dengan sanak saudara yg sentiasa menyayangi disekelilingnya.
Bila difikirkan memang menyedihkan bila ada hamba2 Allah ini diberi 'masa' sehinggaa 'dijemput'. Ajal ditangan Tuhan. Ada kelebihan mereka2 ni. Mereka banyak menghabiskan waktu2 berbuat baik & beribadah tetapi kita yg nampak sehat, selalu leka dgn hidup dan bila beribadat pun kadang2 sambil lewa saja.
Semoga kita semua dimatikan dalam iman. Amin.

NanaDJ said...

My prayers to Amirah and Rahmat. Allah wants to remind us all to be closer to HIM during this Holy month. We have lost our loved ones ( D is always in my mind) and those that we care Naz, Yani have lost theirs.
My doa for your well being. Hugs.

D said...

Kak Puteri,
Ramadhan is an emotional month for me... It's a month we attempt to be closer to Him, and upon reflection, we find that He loves us sooo much, despite all that happens around us. Reading your scribbles about your past brought tears to my eyes, as I can imagine what it is like.

It might be 3 years ago that my Ramadhan involved trips to the hospital, but why does it feel just like yesterday?

My prayers for your niece Amirah and your friend Rahmat..

ninotaziz said...

Dear Kak Kama,
Aren't we blessed we have Ramadhan to reflect, re-examine and recharge ourselves? Your past tribulations give me strength to bring my young family into the light. And the challenges facing Amirah - such a picture of loveliness - and En Rahmat will remind me endlessly to be thankful for what we have and what we don't have. Allah knows best. And gives us burdens He knows we can handle in faith.

Thank you for your open and unassuming way of sharing. It really helps, in more ways than you know.

jaflam said...

Slm P3, saya doakan Amira dan Rahmat sentisa dalam kasih sayang Allah walaupun diduga dengan kesakitan yang amat sangat. Kita yang mendapat nikmat kesihatan seharusnya bershukur dan mengzahirkannya dengan menambah amal, iman dan taqwa kepadaNYA. Semoga P3, Pak Abu dan famili sentiasa dalam rahmat dan perlindungan Allah serta mengecap nikmat Ramadhan.

Royalshoppingarcade said...

Can't help but cried a little after reading your post about Amirah and your friend.The C word never fails to shake me.Like 'D' 3 years ago was a very very testing time for me and lucky me, it happened during Ramadhan where miracles do happen.Alhamdulillah and like I always tell myself and my friends, its a time to fatten our inside (Iman) and kuruskan luaran(physical):)

Bergen said...

I think those yang gi bazar Ramadan are called: Bazariyun - plural. he he

pakmat said...

..we all are living on borrowed time, lady, for death is our destiny..meantime, we have some time left..we are blessed with this Ramadan..and, perhaps, a few more..InsyaAllah..for rainbows are from storms and dark clouds..

Anonymous said...

Downright honest,decent and unpretentious. You are a rare commodity.

Unlike the showoffs,the cakap tak serupa bikin and self-important bloggers that stare into my face every time I open yours.

I know it is Ramadhan.


Kama At-Tarawis said...

Tommy & KaY - indeed, what is life without its ups and downs..

SR - too true. sometimes kita ni leka. ingat umur panjang lagi,ada masa untuk bertaubat. ditakdirkan hayat setakat ni saja Allah bagi.. apapun tak sempat buat..

Nana - amirah is holding up well despite the gloom. she has always been strong, outwardly at least..

D - God knows how I felt while reading your comment. Hope the kids and yourself are coping well..

Ninot - there are some experiences worth sharing, if they can be of help to others in the same predicament. i am not ashamed of my past, truly.. because my past is the foundation of what i am today and hopefully, an even better tomorrow.

Jaflam - indeed. my niece reminds me so much of arwah dalilah.. very stoic, a fighter all the way..

RSA - betul is such a dreaded word, Cancer. everywhere we turn these days, ada aja orang yg kita kenal suffering from it.. ya Allah, mintak Tuhan jauhi daripada this scourge..

Bergen - when you say bazariyun, i am reminded of the byzantine empore..hehehe

Pakmat - betul tu pakmat.. one time i read somewhere we own nothing in this world.. jasad & nyawa kita pun Allah punya, masa pun hanya pinjaman..

Derebar - i have had my fair share of being an ass.. thank God He allowed me the privilege of using my brain in a positive manner.. it's never too late to change, really.

mekyam said...

dear princess,

i'm late avisiting, but salam ramadan to you and family. and especially a warm *HUG* to you [in salute and gratitude for all your sharings]!

p.s. doa dan salam ketabahan to amirah and rahmat.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

mekyam - been a while eh.. hope you're keeping well. selamat berpuasa to you too.. 'hugs'