I just arrived in the office and my phone ringing. I saw Nadira’s name on the caller ID. I was very sure this is about mariam. “Hello”
Silent at the other end. “Dira, kenapa?” Her voice sounds weird. But blur that I am; I could’t detect the truth in her voice. Then she told me “Mon, makyam dah takde.”
Surprisingly I was calm. I asked when it happened but Dira was not sure herself. She will call me again to update on the funeral arrangement. She sounded miserable. I hanged up the phone and call hubby.
Then it hit me. I could not utter the word. I could not repeat what Dira told me. No wonder Dira sounds miserable. Now I experienced it. To hear the news was very different than to repeat the news. Saying those words made it sounded so final. My tears started to flow. Hubby kept on asking what was going on. He thought I was having contraction. I said no, but still I could not tell him what was going on. After around 5 minutes finally I pulled myself together and broke the news. My tears flow like crazy by then.
Hubby asked whether I wanted to go and pay a visit. Suddenly I heard my mom’s voice in my head. She reminded me once that in Islam it is much more important to visit deceased’s family than to attend a wedding. Yes, I should pay my dear friend a visit. She deserved it. Hubby said he’ll come and fetch me. I sms a few of my friends to inform them on the news while waiting for him.
We arrived home and waited for Suharti, Shaira and Rina as they will be joining us for the trip. Surprisingly, I was quiet and busied myself packing stuff (there were not many things to pack though as it was going to be a day-trip). I thought I would be soaked in tears and hugging hubby but instead I was just so quiet. Probably I’m too sad at that time to even cry anymore.
Or perhaps I could not grasp yet the truth?
That she will never step to our new house she once said she will come and sleepover…
That she will never got a chance to see how hubby had decorated the garden which she said she was eager to see…
That she will never get a chance to see our baby…
Did she already know all this?
I kept on recalling my last conversation with mariam. She called me the day before ramadhan. At first her voice sounded sad, telling me how she missed me. But then she regained her normal composure and started sounded like her normal cheerful voice again, chit chatting on our friends and our lives. I did not sense it at that time, but now I kept on thinking whether she already knew she’s leaving me hence her sad voice.
Now I felt I should talk more to her on that day. If only I knew that would be our last conversation together…
When we arrived at the funeral, her parents were calm. Her dad explained that the cancer already spread to mariam’s brain. In fact, the day after we visited us, she started to tremble in pain. Her dad was confident she was aware during the time we visited her at the I.C.U coz only after that she started trembling in pain. (she has this principle never to show her pain in front of others).
I shared my feelings of sorrow with the other friends. How we failed to talk to her more the day at the I.C.U. Dira said she regretted that she did not visit mariam at the hospital prior to the I.C.U attack coz she was in the hospital almost one week before that. At that time, her father said she can still talk and eat rice. She even asked her father to buy her apple juice (that was her last drink prior to the attack). All in all, we all shared how wonderful mariam has been as a person and as a friend.
Her father advised us not to follow them to the burial. I guess with our red-eyes, he was afraid we might create a scene there. But at least hubby was there. He sent mariam till the end. He helped lowered her body and buried her with his bare hands.
I looked at mariam’s face one last time. Unlike the time in I.C.U, she looked so calm and peaceful. Almost like smiling. When the van carrying her was leaving the house to go to the cemetery, suharti said “bye makyam” which actually made me feeling distraught. That’s the truth…Yeah…this was definitely a final goodbye. I could not see her again. She had leaved me forever.
I will always miss her as a wonderful friend.