Sunday, February 17, 2008

Remembering Opah. (A LONG post)

I thought today I would share some thoughts about my maternal grandparents with you, if you don't mind...

I was their eldest grandchild. My dad being in the armed forces, my childhood involved us moving everywhere but what was constant was my Atok and Opah's kampung house- in front of a river in the then, suburb. Next to Lee Rubber. Ada je cuti, we'd go back to visit Opah and Atok. Sometimes, mom would leave me there for a day while she sorted her errands.. Opah would fry me my kentang goreng and telor goren, Makan with tomato sos. Opah would give me tea everyday. I was Sophia basically, when I was small. I would look forward to spending the night with Opah and Atok..they had to put up mosquito net- kelambu where can I get that now eh? It was really really thick- you could barely see outside. It was great when you were 10! When I was going through the rebellious teens (yes, me) I would run to my OPah and Atok's place. (that, and Opah Gemok's house- ok I was very mengada)

...ATOK ....

Opah lived for 82 years- the last 8, as a widow. My Atok was to me, a very wise, calm, practical man and, towards the end, totally harrassed by Opah. We were in Kluang for Hari Raya, and we had gone 4 days and when we came back my parents called us at home at about 1 in the morning, with my mom sounding very casual like (on purpose- she did not want us to worry!) to ask the Dr menantu to come and see Atok..he was "sakit".... Of course Hubby sent Atok to GH..he was coughing blood and was bleeding and had been doing so for 2 days! . He went knowing full well he was not going to come back alive, he informed my mom, the eldest daughter, & the other daughters , where things were and what he wants done with them, etc. The next day he was in a coma, and came home unconscious. I remember sitting in front of him in the middle of the living room - the very living room where my atok witnessed my engagement- watching him die. His last breath was so painful, he puckered his whole face up as he was breathing in and I thought -Ya Allah, I bertobat! I repent! Such a pious man pun sakit like that. NO breath out.

My memories of Atok include... Atok cycling to OngTaiKim (when it was run by old Mr Ong, and there was a buku 555) ; Atok washing the house after banjir in Taman IbuKota, Atok sembelih ayam (I watched), Atok advising me to work (during my housewife days in the UK) , Atok advising me on loads of stuff, Atok was remarkably like my mom in character. Full of advice!


Opah was totally cool. No tears, really. I'm sure she was lonely , after how many years together and , later she told me, everytime she sees my hubby, she is reminded of my Atok - my Atok was also hands on with kids and housework. My Atok used to wash the clothes! ( I never made hubby do that, though). They had 4 girls, then a son finally, then another girl. Hence, I am positive if I get another child, after my 4 girls and a son, I would definitely have a girl.

Opah stayed alone in the kampung house (kampung amende...smacked in the middle of KL- Taman IbuKota) with my Auntie D - her youngest daughter and son in law. I think she would leter at her daughter. Sebab Auntie D always tension. Opah was a perfectionist ok. Verrry clean. Her goodmorning towels were bleached white! Her drains were free from any moss! If she lived with me she'd have a heart attack long ago..!

Every Raya we would get together. Except for Auntie Y , who would not be around for the first raya usually as she would have to go back to her In laws, we would all come and have the first raya meal there. (Auntie Y would cook rendang though) .Before anything, must go to Rumah Opah- Opah's house.


7 years ago , she developed cancer of the colon,hubby's team operated on her- 3 times ! She had a bag in (stoma) , then another operation to remove the bag. Another one to correct an obstruction of the bowel. The nurses in the ward were amazed at her strength. She rarely complained! If only we all can be like that. She was pretty advanced but she survived it for 7 years.! Only thing was she could not eat spicy food and she had to water down her food a LOT. The simplest thing would give her stomach pains. It must have been torture for her, she so loved her sambal. But again..she was stoic about it.

If there was a word to describe Opah- that would be it. Stoic in the face of adversity. (Ok that was 6 words)


Other than being careful with what she ate, she was generally healthy. She was very bent - but she could walk (slowly) and she was mentally alert - to her dying days ok! She still cooked until about 10 months ago- (AIDA am I correct??) . She has explained to me about her many siblings and the family tree..maybe I should do something abt that.

About 6 months ago..she developed 3 types of pain- her ribs would hurt her, then her heartburn and what was the other one?? Her head, I think. So hubby would come with different prescriptions of pain- sometimes, one would trigger other pains, then how? Only when she had her pains was she bedbound.

Gradually the pains came more often. Her grandchildren try to pop in occassionally with our busy lives. Hubby came more often with more medicine. Mom berleter about her children and nieces and nephews not going to see Opah more . And her brother, Opah's only son. Mom was not happy about the infrequency of his visit, no matter what the excuse. Basically I better lay it out to Johan that he is not moving out ok.

When the pains increased, we took her to GH and it was found out that her cancer had returned and she was not going to survive very long . You knew that...


She was discharged in the first week of January.Auntie Y wanted Opah to go back to her house and she would take care of her there. Of course, all the other sisters spent time there too . Personally I think it would have been better for Opah if she was able to go home to her own house. However, that would have been difficult as Auntie D was working and there would be a time lag between Auntie D leaving and Auntie Y coming and Opah would be alone. We should have insisted on getting a maid! But everyone dragged their feet over that! Susah nye nak make a decision! Sigh. no point lah to think about that. .

Anyway her youngest brother passed away on 17th Jan. Did she know that she would follow him exactly one month after?? (She died on 16th Feb, .funny tak..)


We visited Opah last on Valentine's Day. She was not talking by then and she was not eating much. Her condition worsened over the weekend. She was only bones ! Hubby slept once we arrived there. Dont know why - but he could not keep his eyes open. I of course was NOT happy. I wanted to get her a nurse, Auntie Y was still very much against it but I made Hubby tell her haha. She was telling us about how hard it is to look after Opah so we want to help her, naturally. She was tired but stubborn. It's not easy to care for the elderly, I know. As well as being worried about her, if she is tired she cannot give the best care . I want her to do it properly with medical assistance. I wish I was more of a bully ..

Sigh.. I hope when its my turn to look after my mom and dad I would be able to do so with a smile and not begrudge them anything. . For heaven's sake . I was really angry with myself for not forcing her to take an assistant. My mom came everyday as often as she can . Cousin Aida nangis tengok OPah so kurus.. but I was just angry. at myself. At the world. At my mom. At my aunties. We all could be doing so much, I thought.

We gave Opah the morphine patch but it was not working much. (We were going to get another additional stronger patch the next day) Every few minutes she'd curl up in pain. The next day we started to call for a nurse. We were trying to get one, rather. Then we went to get the patch for her bedsore! Then we went home to see the kids . then Hubby slept and did not wake up. I remembered thinking I have to go wake him up no matter what the time is , so that we can go see Opah. It also crossed my mind that if she were to leave us, I did not want to be there.

And you know what? I was not there. Got a call at 3 30 in the morning, from Aida, asking hubby to come to confirm the death. They did try to call earlier but no response. This , when usually hubby jumps at every call. We went immediately. Aida was right. Opah was gone. My parents, my aunties, my uncle all were there. So were my Opah Chu, Opah's sister.

Opah died in mom's arms.. Mom said the pains came more and more frequently rather like contractions. Every 30 mins, then, 15 mins, then 10 mins. My mom taught my grandmother to recite the syahadah..the affirmation that there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad pbuh is his messenger. Opah followed softly three times. My aunties were bonetired and had dozed off. My cousin Aida was also there. Then Opah took a last (so thought my mom) breath. She hugged my mom and looked straight into my mom's eyes. Darn it I wish I was there, now. My mom, thinking that she had lost her mom, cried out "MAK!". Everyone rushed to her side. She then suddenly took a couple of calm breath (acahje tue, maybe) and then she just breathed out..and she went.

My mom, Aida's mom, and Uncle Nuar the only son, were there at her last moments.

So..Opah is now a memory ..her influence in my immeasurable. I took a (small ) part in her bathing- for the first time involved in the process. first time I prayed the special prayers . First visit to the burial ground, ever. For my Opah.

She was bathed, and buried soon after Zohr prayers..I pray that her soul would be placed with those of the good and blessed by Allah swt...

Opah, you went the way you lived, you did not want to trouble people, you went during weekend, and early morning, so that by noon, everything was done. Did you plan this??!!!

My daughter Sophia is the most affected. She kept telling me she felt so sad ...My son pulak, asked my old are you again Opah? (Just checking, I guess)

We will always remember you Opah.

(2004? picture)


ms hart said...

Ya Allah....SW, sooooo sorry to hear about your arwah Opah. Al-Fatihah for arwah, and may she be placed among the ahlil-Jannah. Aameen.

I was brought up by my arwah nenek. I have gone through this horrible feelings of sadness, loss...and I was in 'your mom's position' during the passing of my own mother about a year ago...Ya Allah, I have gone through all this. It was painful, but they are in a better place, InsyaAllah. They are not gone. They have just moved on. We still have them in our hearts,kan? Takziah to your family, SW, and you remember to take care of yourself, ya?

Seeking Solace said...

Takziah... my deepest condolences.


Superwomanwannabe said...

Mrs Hart

THank you for your comforting words...its hard to let go but in the end have to redha...

Superwomanwannabe said...


THank you v much..

Channel 11.5 said...

Malam tadi I mimpi opah leter kenapa rumah sepah, tak kemas? Siap pesan suruh lipat the kain yang I just left on the dinning table before I left for aunty yot's house. Mmg typical cara dia leter kalau rumah sepah.

Dia takde, tapi she is still around. I dah okay, still tired though, but should be okay lah.

Your mom cried last night when we were talking about opah, she must have missed her so much, we all do. I'm glad I heret mom turun KL jugak on that Friday night.

And was glad uncle Nuar was with Opah that night, and he did most of the things after that, which I felt good about it.

And you are right, opah left us macam cara dia, tak menyusah kan sesiapa pun. Very easy.

I will send you you cili giling nanti ok??? :)

Madam Tai Tai said...


Thanks for sharing with us the lovely memories you had with your late Opah. It's your written eulogy delivery for her. It is very touching.

Once again, please accept Chepul and my greatest condolence on her passing.

azwanhadzree said...

i'm going to miss her karipap. i'm going to miss her nagging (although i hv always been a good grandson) i'm going to miss a lot of things.

Al-Fatihah, may she rest in peace.

Minahsongeh said...


Alfatihah to Opah.Takziah

mrsnordin said...


"..jaga orang tua ni memang susah..". That's true, I'm sure a lot of ppl will concur with that. But when you think about it. They took care of us since we were small, sampai dah besar panjang & kahwin, they never complain. Kita, nak jaga they all for 2-3 years when they're old, susah sangat. Why, ah? Banyak commitment lah etc... I know a friend who sent his old-aged father to "Rumah Orang Tua" becoz there's nobody to look after him at home! That's very cruel, I think.


Superwomanwannabe said...

Hi Aida

Haaaaa opah tak sempat leter you in her lifetime, she go and visit you to tell you hahaha so now you have to live as if she is going to see everything you do ok hahahhaha

Superwomanwannabe said...

Mdm Tai tai

Thanks very much ..yeah i guess it IS a tribute kan. So much more to say.

Superwomanwannabe said...


Miss her self made bantal kekabu..miss her kueh apom..miss her cili giling, miss her keuh bingka, miss her nagging auntie dah to make us drinks when we visit.Hee hee.

Superwomanwannabe said...


Exactly...not many can do for one mother, what she had done for her many kids. And when we do, we do it begrudgingly, I doakan if faced with this situation, we wont be like that.

shah said...

ayoyo.banyak la miss pasal opah.rindu nak tido umah opah..ngan selimut,,bantal kekabu..n cadar yg bau best..n also kelambu.donut opah slalu wat.karipap.

"shah dah makaaan?nak milo opah buatkan."

and not to forget

"shah...sini kejap"(opah panggil masuk bilik nak kasi ang pow.)

seb baik dah balik msia arituh.

Channel 11.5 said...


the angpow part is sure to be missed. I stop getting that once I started work, really missed her angpow.

And yes, the karipap, and donut.

Like ayond said, mom is taking opah's tradisi of karipap. Everytime kitorang balik or dia dtg kl mesti bekal karipap. But makngah order karipap, dia tak larat nak buat handmade macam opah... oh the yummy inti daging.

Will we see you end of march? Take care darling

Winter Sonata sure is different at 49 years old!

Believe it or not I am rewatching Winter Sonata.. ee geram betul I dengan si Yujin tu lah... she really was a wutz wasn't she? and...