A part of my Childhood has Gone

A close family member passed away yesterday. Not too shocking considering he is 70 something old and has been really sick for the past two months. He lives in Cirebon so I didn't go to his funeral. I didn't feel anything when I heard about it this morning but when I did my Ashar prayer, I suddenly thought about him and a wonderful memory flashed back through my mind.


I called him 'Njit (grandfather) Salim', I can't really figured it out where he sits in my extended family three but he is like a brother (I think) to my grandma. He used to live in Duren Sawit area with his wife. He had a huge house and pretty well off but he didn't have a biological kid. I used to go to his house with my mom, grandma, aunties & uncles once every few months. One of my uncles was somewhat adopted by him and lived with him for a few years. He was a very loving man, definitely the warmest person in my family. He would never hesitant to hug me and kiss me all over my face and mess my hair when I was a kid. A memory I could never recall happened between me and my dad. All I felt was loved whenever he was near. He used to give me money too every time I went there. Some twenty or fifteen thousand rupiahs. It was considered a lot of money back in the days. I also remember I used to collect golf balls from the golf holes in his front yards. Then I would take it home to play bola bekel.

He was definitely the closest thing I have to a grandpa. I've never met any of my grandpas. He was always there during important moments in our family and served as a guardian.

Then I left the country and didn't really see him anymore except for one or two occasions. He has separated with his wife and married his current wife and has 3 children and lives in Cirebon. Things have changed. Like people said, sometimes you are on top of the wheels and there are times when you would have your turn to stay at the bottom. And that's what happened to him. The situation was reserved and without a doubt, it's our turn to return the favor and the kindness he had given us. Toward the end of 2011, he got really sick and had to stay in the hospital here in town for almost a month. My mom always went to the hospital to help take care of him. She even thought of bringing him home so she can watch him closely. An idea that I rejected because I just couldn't imagine a dying person in my house :(. I just didn't think I could handle it all. Plus, my mom was about to go to her Australia trip so I asked her to really think about her decision. I'm kind of ashamed now that I think about it, I felt so selfish. I guess I was too busy to stop for a moment to realize how special he made me feel when I was a kid :'(.

So mom brought him to my grandma's house instead where he stayed for almost a month. During that period, I only took ONE day off work to visit him. I didn't even really talk to him because he needed to get ready for a doctor visit but I was surprised to see him looking fresh in his wheelchair albeit very bony, but he looked very full of hope.

Now he is gone for good. He took his last breath on a Friday morning, a day where muslim believe to be a good day to leave the world as that means you're a special person in His eyes. RIP, Njit Salim. May God grant you a special place right next to him. You will always remain a wonderful memory of my childhood.

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