This stupid pandemic!
This fucking lockdown!
Everything feels a thousand times harder.
I'm lucky...I'm lucky I still have work now.
I have a roof over my head.
I have a steady income while others struggle to put food on the table.
But I'm scared...
Everything feels so uncertain.
I'm supposed to be responsible for my mum.
I'm supposed to take care of my parents, now my parent.
I'm supposed to keep it together.
And sometimes, it's just too much for me.
Because I can't do it alone.
I know like I act it a lot.
I feel so abandoned.
It's now up to me to fend for myself.
Where are the people who are supposed to lead me?
And I know I'm luckier than most.
But that doesn't mean it doesn't get hard.
I have so many things that I've been wanting to write out for a while.
2021 is definitely a sad, gloomy year.
In this testing time, the news is my number one enemy.
#1 My dad's passing
It was on June 24, 2021, around 1 AM, that my mum called me. I was still awake because I had a deadline at work. So I picked up, and she was in dead silence for a couple of seconds. Then I heard that, or maybe I felt that she was holding her tears back when she said that "Papa meninggal..."
I stood still.
My world stopped.
After that, I started asking when this happened. Mum explained it was a heart attack. Sudden death. He passed away on the way to the hospital.
She asked me to go home, and so I did. I packed my laptop and bought the earliest ticket to go back home.
When I was there, his body was lying in the living room, covered in Kain Batik. There were not many people; only a handful of our neighbors were present.
Then I sat by his dead body. And then Pak Kiyai opened the Kain Batik that covered his face. That was when it hit me that he really was gone. I sat by his side while people started coming to help prepare the burial.
His body grew pale.
I saw his body had some reddish-purple discoloration.
He was cold.
His body was blue and just stiff.
I saw some white substance or more like foams oozed out of the corners of his mouth.
And I wiped away the liquid every time it oozed out.
I was trying not to cry. I tell myself, "Don't be a baby!"
Then after my brother came, we decided to bury his body as soon as possible.
I remember helping to bathe his body. It was really stiff. We covered his body in a shroud, and we performed the funeral prayers. I was just holding back all these tears.
I never thought that one day I would wrap his body in that burial garment.
We walked on foot while carrying his body on keranda mayat to the Cemetary. Then, my brother and I jumped into the hole, and we placed his body in the grave on its right side, facing the qiblah. Once the body was in the grave, we placed a layer of wood on top of the body to prevent direct contact between the body and the soil that filled the grave. We finally started burying him. Once we filled the grave, we placed a small stone at the grave to be recognizable.
I was crying and weeping inside while Pak Kiyai recited the supplications at the funeral.
I couldn't hold my tears. I cried until my face mask was full of snot. Disgusting, but I kept on crying, and my nose was super runny. When I got all snotty, I had to open the mask and wiped it off. And people started staring, it was embarrassing, and I didn't want my mum to see it.
So I wiped my tears away and tried to appear not crying.
On my way back home, I was thinking of what would happen after the burial.
I couldn't help but wonder what happens to his physical remains right after he got buried.
Will his body rot?
What if worms start eating him?
It's all scary and dark.
But that's what we had to do.
Burry him and let his body decompose in the soil directly.
After the funeral and burial, we held tahlilan to send our prayers that he would be at peace there.
I guess what still haunts me is that I don't have the chance to see him alive at his last breath.
The truth is we as a family don't have that perfect relationship.
Many questions remain unanswered.
And I have no closure...
We never actually know when our loved ones will be gone forever.
So make the most of your time while you still have your loved ones, especially your parents.
Because you can't go back in time and reverse the clock.
I wish I could travel back in time and just spend one day, just one whole day really communicating and talking to him.
But it is what it is.
#2 I contracted COVID-19
After I was back in Jakarta, I was healthy for a couple of days. Then, one day I felt my throat was sore. Then at night, I had an extreme fever and headache. Three days later, I swabbed, and the result came back positive.
I lost my taste.
My throat was sore.
I felt listless. More like tired for no reason.
And sometimes trouble to breathe.
At night, I couldn't sleep.
I thought I was gonna die when my coughing was nasty.
Thank god, I am alive.
But for five seconds that night, my world stood still.
My mind was racing.
The only thing that mattered was fighting against these breathing problems.
I survived that night.
After that, I felt like there was no sadness.
For the first time since the lockdown, the fears that I usually kept in my mind seemed never to have existed at all.
I suddenly forgot that we were starved of the things that make us happy.
That makes us human.
And I remembered why it still feels good to live.
Even when times are tough.
Even when life is unfair.
And even when the world seems so hopeless.
I felt like I was giving the coronavirus a BIG middle finger in its giant ugly face because I won.
It was undeniably the best thing I ever did in a long time.
But now...I'm scared it might also have been the worst.
What the fudge!
Can you blame me if all of my pent-up feelings from the lockdown exploded?
I became anxious.
I threw tantrums.
And worst of all, I felt despair.
But now that I survive, I can say wholeheartedly that whatever happens, I will not be defeated whether there's a pandemic or not.
#3 I felt like I was stupid and needed to find another job that might make me less stupid than I already was.
Sometimes I feel like I am stupid.
I am not good enough.
Not smart enough.
Not fast enough.
And I burden not lessen people's work.
I received some harsh comments in my last two projects, and I know the person didn't mean that way, but my HSP brain told me otherwise.
I even thought of jumping from an eight-story building and maybe end things.
But my logic kicked in.
It snapped me out of my thought.
Millions of people are suffering around the world.
People with chronic diseases wanting so desperately to survive.
There is a long list of the queue for organ donors.
And here I am, healthy and fit.
Wanting to just end things?
Hmmm, what a dumb thought.
#4 I broke up with someone that I thought I could have a future with.
Looking back, I guess it's part of my fault.
And I just realized something about myself...that my utmost form of rage is silence.
Silence means I don't have a word for it.
Silence means my anger and frustrations, and rage is on top of my mind.
So I was accused of having another special someone just out of the blue.
And the person who accused me was fully aware that I was self-isolating myself due to COVID and my dad just passed away.
At that time, I told myself, "How inconsiderate!"
I barely lived normally.
I was tired, with headache, fever, coughing, and still mourning.
When I read the message, I was just stunned to the point like, "Are you kidding me, really?"
So I gave the person the answer that she desperately wanted to hear.
That's where we finally ended things.
With some drama after.
Now that I feel better and hope to fully recover soon, I feel like I should just explain things to her.
But what happened, happened right...
So here I am, single, and I guess it's for the best.
I also feel like we don't have the spark to move on to the next level.
For now, I guess being single helps me to really reflect on what I want in life.
And maybe focusing on my career.
Because I have to help my mum after the passing of my dad.
So she's my number one priority.
And the reason I stay sane.
And have the motivation to live well.
#5 Turning 27
I just feel super grateful that I just turned 27 on July 20, 2021, which coincided with Eid Al-Adha.
Also, no one says, "Happy Birthday!"
I don't wanna hear it.
A birthday just means your getting nearer to death.
I guess it's not something to celebrate.
It's just there to remind you to count your days.
And knowing that one day, you too will be buried helps put things in perspective that you should live to your full potential.
My life is sad right now.
I always say that I don't have a big plan.
I think people always see me as a person who knows what I want.
That's not always the case.
Instead, I feel that I am still trying to figure out who I am and what I wanna do.
Always, just like everybody else.
And always feel like I'm still a work in progress.
In short, right now, life is mmmm exciting and scary, but it's all good.
I think vulnerability and embracing weaknesses are so critical.
Because when we do it, we're also self-aware.
When we don't know where we are.
Don't know ourselves.
And we don't dare to look at our weaknesses...
I think that's where we're missing out like on a huge opportunity to change and evolve.
Even though in the future I will be facing the same or maybe worst situations that are frustrating or challenging that I believe cannot be changed and must just be accepted, this experience teaches me all you've got is YOU.
No one actually cares.
Like genuinely cares.
So stop thinking to get sympathy from others.
What they do actually is "Social Comforting," if you will.
So be comfortable in your skin.
And have faith in the only person that you're gonna spend the rest of your life with - YOU.
So until next time...stay strong!