My wife was crying as soon as she received the call from a still-sobbing Izan, her sister-in-law, from Kg Tempoyang, Lipis.
Ali, her brother, was no more with us. He has passed away so suddenly at around 6 in the evening after complaining of a fever for a few days.
It was just last Friday that we talked on the phone. He was laughing all the way telling me that he could not make it to Kamal's Nikah ceremony as Izan was not well, but promised us that they all would come in June, during Kamal's wedding reception.
Life is very fragile. We never know when our turn will come. Seemingly healthy people may just passed away suddenly while those who chronically ill stay on for a long time. So never say that we are still healthy and will live for a long time...
We all rushed to Kg Tempoyang the next morning in three cars. Appandi braved on despite his bad eyes and lack of sleep.
We all just wanted to be with the family, to see Ali for the last time and to share the great sorrow the family was confronting.
When we arrived at Kg Tempoyang's masjid, the body was ready for burial. They were just waiting for us to arrive to see him for the last time. That we all did. My wife gently kissed her brother's cheek and forehead.
YB Dato' Abdul Rahman, ADUN for Padang Tengku was there and so many many people who knew Ali in his life.
From many they told me that Ali was a very good man, difficult to find another man like him. "Nobody prepares tea like him!" the YB said.
We were surprised to see so many people came to pay their last respect to Ali. They came in all throughout last night and that day when he was laid to rest.
His three grown son did all the burial procedures under the able instruction of his brother-in-law. They carried their father's body into the grave and placed ever gently their father's body into the liang lahad.
Back in Ali's home, we all sat and talked for we have not since each other for quite a long time. Tears were still in the eyes of many of Ali's children. Shila was especially sad as she would be married soon.
Abang Long, in his laughter, understood that as the eldest he had a great responsibility to be the man of the house and take care of all.
They two youngest children seemed to be the hardest hit by Ali's departure. We took turn playing with them to make them temporarily forget their sadness.
With heavy hearts we all left Kg Tempoyang at 3 in the afternoon despite my wife's plea to stay on for the night.
Al-Fatihah brother Ali, may you be blessed by Allah and placed amongst His beloveds. Amen.