My second son Raqim was born a week after he died. He started life difficult, as a fisherman. At an early age, I had a taste of the life of a fisherman's son. He prospered and life got better, much better. Alhamdulillah. However I never had much opportunity to serve him.
At the time of his death, my late father left his wife (my mother) at age 57. She was known to us as "Mek". People closed to her will call her "Mok Mudo", obviously an extention of her late husband's "Pok Mudo" title.
Halimah bt Mohamad, my mother, survived him for 27 years. On 4th Aug 2009, my mother passed away at age 84.
At the time of her death, she had mothered 9 surviving children - 2 boys and 7 girls. I am 4th in line, but the oldest boy. The 9 children gave their mother 33 grandchildren. The grandchildren further gave their grandmother 36 great grandchildren. So all in, there are 78 of us. I contributed 4 to the statistics.
When my wife delivered Rafeq, our first baby in 1978, she was there together with my late mother-in-law.
Then, we were living in Taman Tun Dr. Ismail. My elder sister, Ramlah had a house a few doors away from mine in Taman Tun. Conveniently, my mother would commute to and fro from both houses. When I had my second son Raqim, my mother occasionally stayed in within her travelling routine visiting her other children.
I cannot recall accurately how long she stayed in the family house in Kg Dalam Rhu, Tumpat after my father's death. When most of her children moved out of Kelantan seeking livelihood outside, she would spend plenty of times travelling and living with her children.
When I moved to Subang Jaya in 1988, she lived with me. It was a good 5 years, living together with my mother-in-law. As my daughter wrote in her blog, it was the exciting period of two affable ladies living together. Most time it would be my late mother-in-law in her bahasa baku Johor trying to decipher what my mother was trying to say in her deepest Kelantanese loghat! Over the years, my late mother improved her bahasa baku with 2 or 3 English words thrown in!
My 4 children had been lucky. They had their grandmothers to dote them, both living together in the same house.
And that's Ila with Mek.
As she grew older, she decided it was time for her to return home. We got her a full-time maid to attend to her daily needs. Most times, she would stay in my brother's house in Kota Bharu, alternating with the other childrens' house. I returned regularly to visit her. My last visit was on 7th July 2009.
My mother died at 8:40pm on Tuesday 4th August, 2009. ALL her children and the in-laws, most of her grandchildren and great grandchildren were by her side when she breathed her final breath.