My dad, or Ayah to me, has been bed-ridden for a couple of years now.
He was diagnosed to be suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS in short) or Lou Gehric (that American baseball legend) Disease.
ALS is a motor and sensory nerve degenerative disease initiated by chronic uncontrolled diabetes (that what I was told by the doctor over in KLH when he was first diagnosed).
In short, most of his muscles, especially the legs and hands shrink causing progressive loss of motor functions, starting from the power to stand, to walk and now, even to sit up unaided.
To me, the thing that probably hurts him most is his loss of walking-about ability. When he was a policeman, he liked to go on his motorcycle to many places. He used to ride on his kapcai Honda from Kemaman to Kota Bharu and then straight to Negeri Sembilan. Of course, when he was in Kemaman, he preferred chatting with his friends in Chukai.
Now, he spends most of his awake time on the old bed in his 10X15 room, either watching television or looking out of the window.
Despite him being bed-ridden for so long, his spirit is still high. He still talks of him one day being well and able to walk again. That hurts me most, for I know the probability of an ALS sufferer to overcome the disease is almost nil.
My presence, be it for just a couple of minutes, will bring great joy to him. It shows on his face that he really looks forward to be visited by his children. That is why, I do not mind commuting daily from Kemaman to Kuantan. People say that it will exhausting to me...but I just do it for his sake.
In such a difficult time, he needs someone very close to him, like my mother. Sad to say they were separated in their twilight years a couple of years ago. I do not want to talk much about their separation...but it was just unbearable to think that after more than fourty years of marriage and nine children, that divorce was possible.
I know for a fact that he still loves my mother, but sadly the opposite was not so. There is not even a flicker of love in my mother for him.
Many a times he would asked me whether my mother ever asked about him. He also said that there was no divorce as far as he was concerned, but mother was adamant that he had uttered those forbidden words.
I was not sure what had really happened between them. What worries me is that what if he is right all along? Mother will be in sin forever...May Allah shows the right way...
Their divorce has never been registered. He often said that his pension will go to mother once he is no more with us.
We have tried to talk with mother, but she would not listen to any of us. That is what our mother is.
Once I asked her: "After a nearly five decades of marriage, is there a feeling of compassion towards him?"
She did not answer me that time, but I overheard her a couple of times saying that the hatred was so great that there was no more space for him in her life...
Pity father...I will continue looking after you in my rather limited ability and capacity. May Allah bless you and give you peace and patience in facing the great trial.