Monday, 23 May 2011

The A List Girls in His Life...

Afzal was more into sports than girls. Not that he did not like them. He oggled pretty celebrities just like everbody else. But, he once told me, "Saya nak bercinta lepas kahwin.." (I want to fall in love after marriage.."). He was a big fan of Siti Nurhaliza's songs (I suppose Siti's clean image appealed to him). He knew all her songs and sang them well too (We sang them together all the time and I never failed to post him Siti's new albums). As far as I knew, he never had any special girlfriend. I guess between football, badminton, rugby, bowling and all the other games that he played, he did not have time for anything else!

However, he was very close with three girls... Siti Nor Aiysha and Siti Nor Atiqah - his little sisters and Ainul Mardhiah - his cousin-cum third little sister!

Afzal and Aiysha

Afzal was 5 when Aiysha was born on July 12th 1989. They both grew up in Kota Kinabalu, fighting and competing like any other siblings. Yet, when Afzal left to read medicine in Sheffield back in September 2004, Aiysha was the one who was still crying long after Afzal's plane left KLIA. She did not say why she felt so sad then and I did not press her for the reason, but I think it was because it suddenly dawned on her that she was not sure when would be the next time she could cuddle up to her big brother again. Unlike the times when Afzal was studying in KL, she could always count on meeting him during semester breaks or at least during festivities or even when she herself made the trip to KL. And that made her feel like she had "lost" him. Throughout those years that Afzal studied in the UK and came back occasionally for holidays, I noticed that Aiysha would be very excited in anticipation of his return.

Aiysha is my first-born daughter. After 3 boys, we welcomed her into our family with heaps of dresses, baju kurungs and dolls! She fitted in well with her brothers,and was always close to Afzal. Both of them share the same passion for football and are great fans of Manchester United.
Afzal would send her mementos from Old Trafford's Superstore - magazines, key chains, mini radio, mufflers, figurines etc. She kept them all in her bedside locker, together with the envelopes/wrappers that came with the postage! Each time Afzal came home and there was a match with MU playing, Aiysha would stay up with her brothers, shouting and screaming (I think she screamed louder than her brothers!). She knew all the footballers' names. But Afzal said she only memorized names of the cute players!

Being a student at UPM (doing mathematics), she lives in KL and was able to meet Afzal in KLIA when he arrived on February 1st, 2010. I am so grateful that she was around because that meant an extra helping hand to look after Afzal. Aiysha proved to be such a gem. She helped brew Afzal's medicinal tea and pestered him to drink them (all 4 - 6types per day, depending on his condition), apply moisturizing cream to help with Afzal's consistent itching and gave him massages upon request. She also kept Afzal company when I was away at work and accompany Afzal when he needed to shop for things. She took so many pictures with Afzal and uploaded
a few on Facebook that some friends thought they were a couple... he.. he.. he..

Afzal and Atiqah

Atiqah's the baby in the family, born August 15th, 1994. Aiysha was 5 when she came into our lives. She was born in Kota Kinabalu. I remember when my husband brought Afzal and the rest of the brood over to meet Atiqah for the first time, their first comment was, "Wow, banyaknye rambut dia!" (Wow, she has so much hair!". Her brothers used to tease her, "...nanti kan, bila kita nak kena pindah balik KL, awak tak boleh ikut tau, sebab awak orang Sabah.... pegawai imigresen tu takkan bagi awak ikut!" (".. you know, when it's time for us to move back to KL, you can't come with us because you were born in Sabah... they'll stop you at the immigration!"). Back when she was little, this teasing used to make her cry.

Afzal adored Atiqah (well, all her siblings do actually, especially because they were already grown up by the time Atiqah was born and as such were more appreciative of a new addition to the family). I remember when Atiqah was old enough to understand and respond (about 2/3 years old), she would always be the one I'd ask to coax Afzal whenever he was angry or sulking.

Eventhough she's the youngest in the family and got all the attention and could get nearly anything that she wanted, Atiqah is no spoil brat. She is a strong-willed and good girl. When I got transferred to KL in November 2007, she refused to follow saying she was not comfortable living in busy KL.
My husband and I didn't insist. So, she stayed behind with my husband and I visit them as often as I could (before Afzal came back, I used to travel to KK nearly every weekend, but I cut it down to every fortnightly or monthly because I could not bear leaving Afzal alone in KL). Every time it was school holidays, she would travel alone, by plane, from KK to KL and back to KK. She did it on her own for the first time when she was hardly 15 years old. I was skeptical at first but it turned out fine and she has been doing it so much, she's a pro now!

Atiqah did her part to help take care of Afzal, but what surprised me most was her willingness to apply moisturizing cream, scratch and massage Afzal, every time she was in KL. It really filled my heart with pride to see my little girl doing the grown-up thing of chipping in when it mattered most - taking care of our loved ones.

Afzal was passionate about supporting the fight for Palestinian rights. When he came home a few years back, he was armed with this tiny card that held a list of brands/food outlets that he would stay away from because sales from them would contribute to buying arms to slaughter Palestinians. And of course when Afzal was around we would avoid McD, Starbucks, Burger King and a list of other frequently visited places. What tickled me most was when Afzal was not around (gone back to UK) and any of us wanted to visit these "prohibited" eateries, Atiqah would be the one to stop us "...Afzal tak suka la!" ("...Afzal would not like it!") and somehow after a while, we got used to not frequenting these places. Actually, Afzal never stopped us from frequenting whichever eateries or buying whatever brands that we chose. His principles applied to him alone. Others were free to follow only if they chose to.

Afzal and Ainul

Ainul is my younger brother's 9 year-old daughter. back when Afzal was studying in KMYS/KMYUEM, he could not always come home to KK during his semester breaks. During those times, he opted to stay at his uncle's (whom we all refer to as Paktam) place in Putrajaya. Apart from the fact that Paktam treated him like his own son, Afzal loved to stay in Putrajaya because he could bond with Ainul who was about 2 years old then. I believe Ainul helped ease his longing for Atiqah too.

These two did all sorts of things together, including watching the whole of Akademi Fantasia series. We found a CD filled with pictures of Ainul among Afzal's possessions. To Ainul, Afzal was her big brother. When Afzal left to study in the UK, he kept close contact with Paktam and Ainul through phone calls and emails and Putrajaya was a mandatory stopover each time he came back for holidays.

As fate would have it, Mak Tam got a scholarship to do her Masters in London for a year in 2009/2010. Paktam followed eventhough he had to lay off work and became a household husband for a whole year! I was thankful because it meant that family was close-by to look in on Afzal while he received his chemo. When Afzal was in hospital for his high-dose chemo treatment, even Ainul got to visit him at Royal Hallamshire Hospital. I remember when Afzal was warded at Ampang Hospital in December 2010, Ainul queried why she was not allowed to visit Afzal because she could do it in UK.

Afzal was a good influence over Ainul because he imparted all the good values on her. I remember in September 2009, when I visited Afzal, weboth went to London to help Paktam move into their new home in Mount Pleasure, Tottenham. We all went out household/grocery shopping and Afzal was in-charge of Ainul. Each time Ainul wanted to buy something, Afzal would grill her with twenty questions on why she needed the stuffs and more often than not, she would end up not buying them. I also remember one day when Afzal and me had to babysit Ainul while Paktam accompanied Mak Tam to settle matters at the university, we went out marketing. All the way back, Afzal taught Ainul to sing "How Do You Like Your Eggs in the Morning", a song for orange juice commercial that he saw everyday over TV while he was hospitalized. By the time we were nearing home, Ainul had memorised the song and just as we were about to enter the gate to the house Afzal said to Ainul, "okay, cuba baca surah Al-Fatihah pulak!" ("okay, now recite surah Al-Fatihah!"). Luckily she still remembered the whole surah.

Afzal was also close to his cousins but I believe he held these 3 girls very close to his heart. These are 3 girls that he would hug and hold hands with anytime he wished. All 3 of them are girls who are still missing him very much........

AND THEN.... a 4th girl entered Afzal's life.

Afzal and Afifah

Nur Afifah is Jep's wife, my daugher-in-law. Her father hails from Sandakan while her mother is a Terengganu lass. She was introduced into our lives back when our whole family was living in KK. She is such a lovable character that she fitted in easily when Jep married her in December 2009. Jep described her as someone "...with a very kind heart". And I agree totally.

Back when she was just Jep's girlfriend, Afzal would complain every time Jep spent more time with her then with us, his family.Afzal used to say, jokingly, "Itu la kau, melebihkan orang luar dari keluarga sendiri..." (How can you put an outsider before your own family..."). And Jep would answer, "Engkau belum bercinta bah... kau ndak faham..." ("You are not in love... that's why you don't understand..."). And as if understanding this, Fifah (as we fondly call her) was actually quite concerned about how Afzal would react to her joining the family. Of course her fears were actually unfounded. Afzal was just putting on an act to irk Jep and because to him they were not yet married, thus should abide by the restrictions between men and women as stipulated in Islam.

By the time Afzal came back in February 2010, Fifah was already a member of our household, living with me and my children because Jep was in Melbourne pursuing his PhD. She had to stay behind to finish her Master's degree. As it turned out, she was another blessing in my household because she took over taking care of Afzal while I was at work an Aiysha was in campus. Every morning, I would prepare Afzal's breakfast and medication, but she would be the one responsible to prepare Afzal's lunch and any other needs while waiting for me to come home in the evening. She is heaven sent into my life and I thank Allah for that. Afzal told me, "Saya memang selalu terfikir nak ada kakak. Saya anggap Fifah kakak saya. Tak sangka dia sanggup jaga saya macam ni..." ("I've always wanted a big sister and I now have one in Fifah. I never thought she would be willing to take care of me like this...").

So.... these are the A list girls in Afzal's life. When I reflect on all that they had done, I realised that being young is no obstacle for them to learn the meaning of sacrifice. They sacrificed their time, energy and emotion, to take care of someone they loved very much...Afzal. Sometimes as adults, we can be so full of ourselves and think that we know everything compared to our children, when in actual fact there are a lot we can learn from them too......Mama Afzal.

P/S : Thank you Eliyana Saliha Elias for giving me that much needed push to write this entry.


muhammadthoriq said...

so inspiring and lovely, may his soul rest in peace. amin.. =')

Mama said...

Salam Mama Afzal

A very touching entry...semoga Arwah damai di sana... amin

Mama Ayim

Yellowrabbit said...

As Salam Mama Afzal,

Thank you so much for the lovely and endearing entry. Your effort has refreshed our memory of your precious Afzal.May he RIP. Do keep up the good work please. God bless you and your beloved family. Ameen.

Anonymous said...

as salam alaik.... lovely entry...may allah bless him....


VioletOrchid said...

one word : lovely.

Anonymous said...

Aisya is such a great sister. I always wanted a sister and Afzal is very lucky to have 2 caring little sisters. Hope she'd be strong to cope with the lost of her loved one.

ash of wrath said...

thank you mama afzal :) it's been a pleasure to read. thanks again for updating.

Azreena said...


Dengan nama Allah yang Maha Pemurah lagi Maha Mengasihani
Segala Puji bagi Allah, Tuhan sekalian alam.
Yang Maha Pemurah,Yang Maha Mengasihani.
Yang menguasai (Raja) hari Pembalasan.
Hanya Engkau yang disembah & Hanya padaMu kami memohon pertolongan.
Tunjukkanlah kepada kami jln yang lurus
Jalan orang yg Engkau beri nikmat & bukan jalan orang yg Engkau murkai...

p/s:bukan senang mak mertua nak puji menantu ni.dalam blog pulak tu ;)

faeeza ghafar said...


Dearest Mama Afzal..

I'm a new reader of this inspiring blog.. I came across this blog from my form 6 student ( who was a reader too and had a chance to meet Dr Afzan)..
Yesterday is spent my time just reading this blog (from the beginning) and alhamdulillah today i come to last post (currently .. am hoping for more posts from you)..
Frankly, i have learn a lot from Dr. Afzan , you and your family.. I was burst with tears (uncountably) while reading .. and came out with a conclusion nothing can be compare with the love of people closest to you and Allah knows better..

Alfatihah for Arwah..

Thank you for sharing with us..

Adiza said...

Salam Mama Afzal :)
Please keep writing :)
Thank you for sharing all the thots, feeling and ... all the moments :) I really luv reading all the entries... Please keep writing :) and all the entries really inspired me.

AlFatihah for Allahyarham

IEKAN78 said...

salam mama afzal,

thank u for updating this blog....
im looking forward for another inspiring entries......

al-fatihah utk dr afzal....

Anonymous said...

salam mama afzal,

thank you for sharing. you don't have to push yourself, whenever you are recollecting sweet memories of dearest afzal.. share with us.. as your writing would be a great inspiration to many of us.

may Allah bless u n d family. al fatihah utk arwah Dr. Afzal.

tq; ryaha

ida said...

Assalamualaikum... mama afzal
i found this blog 2 years ago.and since then i had always follow ,.this blog, inspired me a lot.
,..your son....mas afzal he's truly a good person, i ever know.
I feel really sorry for u mama afzal ...I know exactly how you feel,( cause I'm a mother too)It's just that Allah loves your son very much and Allah wants your son to be with him.
you have done a great work in raising up your son .
That only means that you are a great person and your son was very lucky to have you as a mother.
I should and i will learned a lot from you .. mama afzal
salam/sister from Indonesia

Anonymous said...

Assalamualaikum to all that have dropped by with comments,

Thank you very much for all your kind comments. Actually, I was not sure if I could continue writing in this blog because what I have are only memories with Afzal. But what a friend of Afzal told me, made me feel it's ok to continue writing. She said "whatever you write, people will read!".
Hopefully she is right and I will continue to share with you all...Thank you for your support. I too look forward to reading all your comments. May Allah bless you all....Mama Afzal.

School Of Tots said...

TQ maam for sharing. A very touching post. Good values never die...thx

edogawa conan said...

salam..mama kepada seorang yang saya tak pernah jumpa, tapi saya sangat kagum dan terasa satu kehilangan yang besar dalam diri saya walaupun baru semalam saya kenali beliau melalui blog ini.
mama afzal..ur son's story make me cry n feel shy.
die..seorang yang sangat kuat.semalam saya hampir putus asa dengan dugaan Tuhan, putus asa untuk terus berjuang dalam menempuh dugaan hidup. tapi percaya atau tidak, saya bangun pagi ini dengan semangat baru untuk teruskan perjuangan menghadapi dugaan Tuhan. dan sepanjang hari ini, saya bekerja dengan air mata.selama ini saya sudah lama menangis, menangisi takdir Tuhan dan dugaan Tuhan dalam hidup saya. tapi hari ini, air mata saya tak putus-putus dari pagi smpai malam, mengenangkan anak mama ini.air mata saya tak putus-putus mengenangkan sape saya berbanding die. die sangat kuat.kekuatannya mengharungi dugaan Tuhan, membuatkan saya malu padanya dan pada Tuhan.
mama..izinkan saya menjadikan anak mama idola saya.doakan saya menjadi manusia yang kuat, sekuat anak mama ini.
mama sangat bertuah..miliki anak seperti dia. moaga Tuhan redha dengan afzal.moga Tuhan merahmatinya..ameen.
izinkan saya share kekuatan anak mama mengharungi dugaan Tuhan dengan kawan-kawan saya. moga mereka juga mampu menjadi manusia yang kuat sebagaimana saya hari ini temui kekuatan baru melalui kisah anak mama ini.
tq mama..may God Almighty bless u n ur family.

Cicero88 said...

al-fatihah utk arwah....~
sy kawan bowling afzal masa kat kk~
i remember back 2001,kitaorg ikut MSSS kat Tawau Sabah.My mom asked A favor to him and his friend ariff to take care of me during at tawau. Afzal mmg ambik berat,tgk2 sy dah mkn ke belum...

Ada la sehari ni, sy kalah tak dpt masuk final..NANNNGGIIISSSS,
then afzal la yg pujuk tuk berusaha for next tournament.i remembered what he said to me,
"dun give up..."
On the next day,kitaorg la yg paling bising sokong mmbr2 lain tuk final.

Saya anggap dia seorang abg yg penyayang dan bertanggungjawab... ^_^

Anonymous said...

Hopefully Mama Afzal tak jemu jemu untuk menulis lagi dalam blog arwah Dr Afzal.....

cerita mengenai arwah banyak memberikan keinsafan buat kami yang membacanya...

Al Fatihah.....

Mohd Shahnom Ismail said...

Assalamualaikum wbt

Rindu kawan seperti kami kepada arwah Mas Afzal, pasti jauh lebih rindu lagi kerinduan yang ditanggung oleh bondanya.

Perkongsian yang amat menarik.
Banyak yang boleh kami pelajari, especially about parenting.

Thanks =)

asyandi said...

salam mama afzal,

may Allah's blessing always be with you and the rest of the family.

so happy to read this.

Everytime i read this blog, I just can't help myself from crying. Subhanallah..
rupanya bakat menulis arwah tu ibarat kuah tumpah ke nasi. :)

please keep writing ya.. :)

p/s : how i wish i could spend more time with him. :(

MaMaNuRiN said...

it's so touching!! moga arwah senantiasa berada didalam golongan yang dikasihi dan dilimpahi kesenangan di sana..surely dia bangga punya mama dan family yg senantiasa kuat dan tabah

Anonymous said...

Selamat menghadapi bulan ramadhan yang penuh barakah..... moga Mama Afzal tabah menghadapi ramadhan kali ini.....
sama-sama memanjatkan doa agar arwah di sana tergolong bersama-sama dengan golongan yang beriman Amin.....

The Medical Duo said...

Salam ziarah ke sini doc.. sweet entry. Singgah ke blog kami jika ada kesempatan :D

Marilyn Barlow said...

Dearest Mama Afzal, Your writing is lovely and such a wonderful testimony to not only beloved Afzal, but to your entire family as well. Please, do keep writing. Much love to you, Marilyn

Anonymous said...

Salam, mama Afzal, you are a very lucky mother because you got a son like Afzal. Afzal writings really changed my life. Right now I had to postpone my studies to Uni of Queensland because of Diabetes. When I was totally down and lost my confidence, His writings boost my spirit again. Thank you and please keep writings

Indian Fashion said...

Amazing this post and interesting details share in the post. good job

seorang anak said...

sebuah kisah yang sangat mengharukan..saya mengalirkan air mata membaca coretan hidup arwah dan orang disekelilingnya..semoga arwah ditempatkan dalam kalangan org beriman..dan tahniah juga kerana Mama Afzal dan suami berjaya mendidik anak2 menjadi insan yang berguna,berpendidikan tinggi..saya sebagai Sabahan berbangga dengan kehadiran anda sekeluarga di Sabah..

Music Masti said...

Fantastic this post and nice all pics.