“People say you do not know what you have got till it is gone. Truth is, you knew what you had, you just never thought you would lose it.”- Nishan Panwar
One of the Wise Owl’s favourite phrase is ‘post-mortem’. He would always tell me “sister, you must do a post-mortem of your life”. I always thought that what he meant was to list down my bad and good deeds and see which outweighs the other. I do not have to list down my deeds to know which is heavier. Sigh! I can safely say that I have not earned my ‘halo’ yet!
But I think, what the Wise Owl meant, was not just listing out our deeds but a deeper meaning than that. We are so caught up with our daily lives, the havoc and the ‘rat-race’ that we feel the years had gone by without us noticing it. When we finally look up, we realize that there were many things that we want to ‘un-do’ or do differently but alas, we can’t. We had also, probably taken many people for granted.
I, for one, have been very guilty of taking my parents for granted. The other day, my parents came over to my house and I actually stopped and looked at them carefully. Somehow in my mind, the mental picture I have of them was when I was 18 years old. When I looked at them with my heart, I realized that they have aged. My dad had actually lost some weight and my mum gained some. Both of my parents have gotten slower in their movements. They are not as robust and agile as they used to be. That was when it hit me! How can I not notice it before?
I realize that I have not been spending enough time with them. I took for granted that they will always be there, waiting for me, as they did before. I took for granted the fact that they might be called by our Maker, at any time.
I suddenly felt tremendous sorrow. I can’t imagine my live without them. I know that, each one of us have our own ‘expiry’ date and it is inevitable but, the mere thought of not having them with me, bring such sadness to me.
“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour. And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: "My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small."
Surah Al-Isra 17:23-24
I have been guilty of not spending time with them. I have been busy with my own live and family that I did not pay enough attention to them. I procrastinated my time with them, assuming that they will always wait for me.
When I remember the things I put them through when I was a rebellious teenager, I cringe. One thing I know, is that they never gave up on me. They allowed me to make my own mistakes and learned from it. They were proud of my achievements and picked me up during my 'downfalls'. They are my biggest fan.
I remember running to my dad whenever I had ‘boys’ or ‘girls’ problem. He would then make light of things that the problems became trivial. I remember my dad teaching me how to hammer a nail and mix cement. Yes! mix cement!. He taught me how to change a light bulb and fix things. I never got around to using his electric tools though but I believe I inherited my creativity from him. My dad was the one who encouraged me to speak my mind. He taught me how to debate and eventually, I made it into a career. The times when my dad was angry with me, he didn’t shout or scream but, all he had to do was just to call me and ask me to sit in front of him and then ask “ tell me, what have you done?” That was all it took, to make me break down and cry uncontrollably and confessed all my mischief.
My mum taught me how to cook (much to my husband’s delight!) She would let my sisters and I, bake and cook whatever we liked. Of course there were incidents where we smoked up the entire house but she allowed us to make our own food blunder. My mum also taught me how to sew. She taught my sisters and I how to make our own ‘baju kurung’ and until now, sewing is one of my favorite past time. My mum took care of me when I gave birth to my children and I am eternally grateful to her for that. My mum is stricter than my dad and she is quite vocal when it comes to disciplining us but had it not been for her firmness, my sisters and I would not be the person we are now.
Both my parents have tremendous patient with me and my sisters (more so with me!). They allowed us to be kids when we were kids. I remember an incident when I was about 7 years old ( I think). We had gone visiting to a house of a family friend. Their next door neighbor had zinc tents erected in front of their house, in preparation for a wedding celebration. Left alone to my own devices, I decided to climb a tree beside one of the tents. I perched on a branch, trying to get a better view of my surroundings. Little did I know that the branch was brittle and so, the branch broke under my weight and I fell on top of one of the zinc tent. Next thing I knew, the whole row of tents collapsed like dominos. People rushed out from their houses, only to find me sitting nicely on top of the debris, looking bewildered but unscathed! I was expecting a tongue lashing from my dad but it never came. I guess he agreed with me that it wasn’t my fault that the branch broke. Hahahaha….The wedding celebration? Oh, they erected a new set of tent, a much sturdier one, in time for the celebration. You know what? I think it was good thing that I fell on the tents because it went to show, that the tents were not strong at all and had it collapsed during the celebration, it would have injured quite a number of people.
My parents are my greatest treasure. I must make time for them, no matter how busy I am. I am quite fortunate that both my parents are still with me. I know some of my friends have lost one or both of their parents and how they regret not spending enough time with them. I must stop taking my parents for granted and savor every moment I have left with them. They have sacrifice their time and wealth for me so the least I can do so is sacrifice my time. Even then, it a small price to pay and not even enough to repay them for all that they have done for me. I fervently pray that God grant them mercy and an abundance of barakah. I pray that God protect them from harm and sorrow. I also pray that when their time comes, they are placed amongst the righteous. Ameen…..
“And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful and kind to his parents. His mother bears him with hardship and she brings him forth with hardship, and the bearing of him, and the weaning of him is thirty (30) months, till when he attains full strength and reaches forty years, he says: "My Lord! Grant me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your Favour which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds, such as please You, and make my off-spring good. Truly, I have turned to You in repentance, and truly, I am one of the Muslims (submitting to Your Will)."
Surah Al-Ahqaf 46:15