Immeasurable grief

The only time goodbye is painful is when you know you’ll never say hello again.


As I write this column, I am still grieving the loss of my beloved younger brother.

The emotional toll to me, is beyond words – inexpressible and indescribable. My heart literally sank, and to borrow a quote from Theodore Roosevelt, “the light has gone out of my life”.

Yesterday (Friday) is the seventh day of his passing, he died at the tender age of 21 in a motorcycle accident nearby our home in Miri.

It was around 6 in the morning last Saturday that I received that fateful phone call, informing me of his demise.

The telephone conversation was brief and lasted for mere seconds, but it was enough to send me shaking.

Still in shock, I kept my composure enough to open up my phone and book the earliest flight ticket home.

This was after a brief struggle with the booking payment as for some reason flights that took off less than 24 hours from being booked could not be paid via online banking.

As I have my breakfast while waiting for the plane, all I could think was that I wished someone else would go through this instead of me.

“I am not ready for this, not now, not ever,” I told myself.

My trepidation continued as I landed home as the body could not be claimed from the morgue just yet as it had to undergo a post mortem – which is apparently the standard operating procedure (SOP) in accident cases.

I did not cry the first day I got home. At the time I couldn’t believe that he was gone. I was struggling to process that. I was thinking it was some cruel joke. I slept with that thought in mind.

The next morning as I laid in his bed, I started to sob uncontrollably. It had started to dawn on me that he wasn’t longer with us.

I was awaken by the rest of the family, informing me that his body will be released that morning. After we rushed to the morgue, we were told to wait – it (the body) couldn’t be released in the morning, we had to wait until afternoon.

When the moment came, we were called into the morgue just as the body was being transported into an awaiting van.

There I got to see my brother – I was reluctant at first as I was told by others that he was beyond recognition at the scene of the accident.

Thankfully, he looked fine despite some bruises on his forehead, which I can only assume to have come from his helmet during impact. He looked at peace, and almost as if he’s still here.

After his body was transported to a mosque, and when I arrived, I saw many – family members and friends – who had flocked and waited patiently for him.

After the prayers and when the body was about to be transported for burial, Nazri (a childhood friend and now an imam at the mosque) asked me, “does anyone else want to see him (my brother)?” I said yes.

There, my family members who weren’t at the morgue saw him for the last time, followed by a group of his close friends who bid their farewell.

I was touched to know that he was well loved by his friends and colleagues at work, they told me that my brother was a kind and cheerful person who never hesitated to help others when required.

A close friend of his told me of his last moments with my brother – a lengthy conversation just hours before his demise.

Apparently, he was planning to start a life of his own, he was saying that he didn’t want to burden his father. He also told him (the friend) that he misses everyone.

Our mother had passed away seven years ago. He was still a little boy then. All this while, it had been him, myself, my other brother and father. Now there’s just three of us.

I hope that he got all the love he deserved during his time in this world, growing up without a mother.

I know we gave him the best we could.

May they both be reunited in the hereafter and may Allah place them among the pious.

Rest well, my beloved brother, Muhammad Zawani. We love you very much.

Allahumaghfirlahu warhamhu wa’afihi wa’fu’anhu (Allah, forgive him and have mercy on him and pardon him.)


The views expressed here are those of the columnist and do not necessarily represent the views of New Sarawak Tribune. 

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