* Honoured I am to have my mom being the first invited guest to share an entry in my blog, Not the primrose path.
It is an honour to be invited to write in this blog...but I'm new at this, so please bear with me if I sound biased..I have no other excuse other than that I'm Afzal's Mom:
It wasn't an easy decision to make, but when I decided to spend Eid in Sheffield, it was because I can't bear the thought of Afzal spending Eid alone, tired and nauseaus after his second round of Eshap chemo. But eventhough the chemo was postponed,I still went ahead and took the trip....It turned out to be quite a celebration, one that brought me up close n personal with people who have touched Afzal's life in so many ways ever since Sheffield became his second home in 2003.
When he met me at the Sheffield train station at 11.20pm, 18th September, 2009, he looked tired,was coughing occasionally and complained of hair loss happening faster than usual. He also seems to have lost a bit of weight and my heart breaks looking at his tired smile welcoming me.
The next morning I started the task of preparing for Eid just like I would have done back home, just so I can bring a bit of cheer into Afzal's Eid celebration...He was just as excited, helping out in the kitchen and making open house plans, naming postgrads and undergrads he would be inviting. This year's Eid was made extra special with the presence of Pak Tam n family.
Actually we only went to one open house - that of Ezarad, a third year medical student, whose father, Tan Sri Elias Omar, helped clear a few things with JPA so that Afzal could remain in Sheffield to undergo treatment for his Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Tan Sri, a humble and charming man, told Afzal to go ahead and seek treatment in the UK and to just concentrate on getting well. He proudly introduced Afzal as DR.MAS AFZAL to his other guests and I couldn't help but admire his sincererity in helping my son. I have always also admired him as a man of principle, back during his PTD Officer serving days. And being a PTD Officer myself, made this meeting a lot more meaningful.
Us with Tan Sri Elyas' family
And then there were postgrads and wives of postgrads who testified as to just how helpful Afzal has been to simply everyone throughout his stay in Sheffield, that everyone was crushed when they learned of his predicament. They say he has such an amicable personality, its not difficult to like him. He helps other students, both undergrads and postgrads get settled in, put them up temporarily in his own rented house if needed, and is always very much involved in activities that matters.
What amazed me was that not only was he known throughout the Malaysian community but also among British citizens and other foreign students. One parent of a third year Yemeni student called him "an asset". I do not know exactly what he meant but nevertheless my heart was bursting with pride.
Occasionally throughout that 20th September, I asked Afzal how he was feeling and he said..."I'm running on reserved battery "..meaning, actually he is still feeling tired, but the wonderful feeling of Eid, surrounded by family n friends has made him forget the tiredness, nausea and hair loss....he even coughs less!
Alas, I am so lucky to have all these strangers looking after my son unconditionally ..thank you all and I leave it up to Allah to reward your kind deeds...Amin. This year's Eid in Sheffield is one special celebration I shared with Afzal and remain in a special in my heart......