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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"The one day before leaving 42 Filey St..."

This might be my last entry from the grounds of UK, as I shall depart for Heathrow tommorow for my flight back to Malaysia at 9 pm UK-time.

It's difficult to fathom that I've been here for almost 7 weeks now. At first thought, I felt that it was just yesterday that we went to get tickets at the Thai Airways ticketing office - hustling through horrendous KL traffic under the striking hot sun of the peninsula.

I was, honestly at that time, still contemplating over whether this whole plan was the right thing to do. I mean, taking more than a months leave from work leading up to my studies in Australia come March would be quite a feat to pursue. And then there was that worry over the budget involved.

Alas, I knew that whatever it meant I needed to be in UK. At least, beyond a shadow of a doubt I was the only one who's in the right time and position to go and cater over Afzal for a long period, in such short notice. Family has always been the biggest priority in my life, and at that moment my attention had withered over my brother more than anything else. With a deep breath, I conceded in faith that had unknowingly brought me the best experiences in my life so far.

I've been blessed with family that takes pride in kinship. Ever since we were kids, the three of us Mas-es have been taking care of each others' backs. Growing up, going through primary and secondary school we've conjured a relationship not many brothers would have the opportunity to. When one is in trouble the others lend a helping hand. In anxiousness of setting foot on foreign land, amidst wintertime I was more worried over the few weeks to come when Afzal would be more appropriately known as chemoboy. I promised myself that this journey would be more for him rather than my own leisure.


I had much to talk about with mom en route to Heathrow. The almost 16 hour haul flight gave us the time to talk about things we haven't talked about for a long time. Catching up and amendming plans for the future. It was nice; a serendipitious union I warmly welcomed. In due time, as we made our way through customs into the terminal there stood Afzal. All feelings warm and fuzzy were overwhelmingly present, and we gave him a hug as huge that it represented everyone back home. There my journey started on what I've learn to call 'Projek UK'.

I've done a lot of things, being here. Looking back, I'm thankful that in spite of the challenge that God had bestow both me and indefinitely Afzal, He had made it easy for the both of us. Of course, it's not over yet for Afzal but I am sure he'll have the strength to endure it. According to abg Azhar, I've accomplished (tourist-wise) more than a years worth of experience he had when he first set foot in Nottingham few years ago.

I've even driven around the UK; on our trip to Thetford - a four hour journey that opened new horizons for me.

I've been to places many back home would dream of being to - London, Thetford, Manchester, York and Sheffield. Sitting in busses and trains all over. The London tube. Britain's double decker buses. Took part in the Gaza march. Went on shopping sprees all over; to the liberty of having someone say 'love' to you by every purchase. Tasting Mok's wonderful nasi lemak. Staying up late hours chatting with Shahrul and the gang. All holding many vivid memories that I'll sure to tresure for the rest of my life. I was lucky to have chemoboy around as well; most of these wonderful outings were implicitly his doing.

He taught me a lot about how its like living abroad, the tricks of the trade. How to really 'live' overseas life. The people I've met - brothers in the Muslim community, young and old all offering the warmest of gestures in the form of words and actions you'd never thought existed. I've felt the closeness to people of different skin and background I've never imagined possible; we are indeed more similar to each other than we think we are different.

But among all, the greatest liberty I had to experience was the fact that I was there for him. And shared most of it with him by my side. Helping him go through thick and thin and seeing him do it with relentless determination; an undying faith that this test is something he must muster. For all the work and care that I have done, is minimal compared to what he's facing.

Tommorow, we'll be making our last walk together to the Sheffield bus station to send me off. Apart from his busy practical schedule at Hallamshire hospital, he'd promised to at least see me off into the bus. And as I look to him from the bus tommorow I'm sure to be bound by all these things that've become part of my life. Part of me yearns for home, but most of it wonders whether he'll be okay after this. I've enlisted the help of abg Azhar for his caretaking till April, and most probably either Dad or Andi would take over from there for his last two doses.

Someone once asked why I took the hassle of going through all this, and whether it'd be worth it in the long run. I smiled and the answer came naturally through my lips.

I just replied, "if things were the other way around, I know he'd done the same for me." In that retrospect, this last few weeks have definitely been worth it.

I wish that everything shall run fast and smooth for chemoboy from now on, and that he be bestowed all the goodness and kindness God can offer a soul as nice as his. I've said this once and I stand true to my words - if anyone deserves good things coming his way, it'd be him.

Jazzakallah khair for everything.

-JeP

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

what a touching entry.

the bonds of family should always be the strongest bond of all, and i do admire the kinship shown by you, your siblings and family.

all the best in the challenges to come, with Allah's blessings i'm sure all of you will have most remarkable and triumphant life journeys.

i can't wait to see you tomorrow.

lots of love,
fifah

Anonymous said...

I've said it so many times and I'll say it again...I'm so blessed to have 5 beautiful children. Test after test from Allah Al-mighty proves this to be true all the time.Thank you Jep for being there when the family needs you. I agree with you..I actually wondered at times if the decision to send you to Sheffield was wise considering the sacrifices you have to make - going on unpaid leave, doing things alien to you, cutting short your time with your fiance and above all, burdening upon you what should truly have been my and papa's responsibility - but like I've mentioned to your other siblings, now is the time for our family to make sacrifices. We've been living in our comfort zone for so long, so we should be ready to be tested...and Afzal, I know you will pull through...only, like all mothers, I will always WORRY...C U Soon in KL!

Anonymous said...

P/S : Thank you Fifah, for being so understanding and accepting our family decisions without any questions....I am again blessed that Allah has bestowed upon Jep a beautiful fiance in more ways than one!....mama.

Anonymous said...

No more of the delicious beef stew, or english muffin, or nasi telur goreng.

But of all, no more the passionate brother who has looked after me for months and making me feel how lucky I am to have such a brother.

That moment at 2.20pm today was so difficult. Difficult.

-chemoboy