Wednesday, December 24, 2014
On Death & Dying......The Friend Revisited.
He is a top neurologist. Our friendship transcends professional inter-connectivity and interest. He is my mentor and 'gold-standard' for ethical medical practice [ a rare commodity nowadays of 'instant everything' ] , and I am his 'agitator' on things spiritual and of the 'heart', even though we have a 14 years age difference, he being older. His and his contemporaries belong to an age ruled by rationalizations and reason, that famously produce people like Tun M and Musa Hitam. Myself and some of my contemporaries live mostly by our ' hearts '.
We did Haj together in 1989 under SMAS Travel [ Pak Lah younger sister's outfit ] when 13k Rm per head was quite something to talk about. Now Siti Nurhaliza's 100K per head is mundane stuff. How time has changed! It was both the second for us two. He headed the medical mission in Makkah in the early70's while I headed the mission in mid 80's.
Four packed to a room. One prof in linguistic education, Prof Isahak, one TNB senior engineer who maintained that even eating 'kibas' during haj is tantamount to 'Makruh'. A purist and obscurantist viewpoint but we never at any moment argue with him. The mechanic, the linguist, the 'brain' and the ',heart', a volatile and combustible combination! . Ten long days in ihram in a 12' by 12' room, was long and testing on patience. No rancour, anger or argument. Just shukr, remembrance and continous zikrullah.
All four of us room mates were doing Haji Ifrad. The best haj I have ever done, minus the 1st one in 1984 when 'seeing the 'Ka'abah' for the 1st time was magical. For that special one , just sitting there in al- Raudhah doing nothing was magical and spiritually uplifting.
Three years back, when he was already diagnosed with advance cancer of the kidney, we had another trip to Makkah. I just challenged him that it may be good for his soul if he can join me in my then annual Umrah during the last 10 days of Ramadan. It was fairly risky since he was not in the best of health, and prone to cross-infection. He took the challenge head on despite a lot of reservation from both wife and children. We had a wonderful 10 days of soul searching , including a near riot at the Jeddah Haj airport by Pakistanis pilgrims who missed their flight home due to Saudi's slow clearance of the crowd. Alhamdullillah it was a great Umrah all round.
Now he lay breathless on his bed in Room 456. His oxygen saturation is only 85 % on 5 litres of oxygen per minute. I stole a glimpse through his clinical notes earlier. Dr K, his oncologist scribbled in his notes : ' DNR'. Euphemism and short for 'do not resuscitate 'if patient were to have a cardiac arrest! '. 'DNR' is usually reserved only for the desperately ill patients, beyond help and no hope to get better.
His chest Xrays showed 80 % chokerblockful with tumour metastases. Dr 'K' has with wisdom put him on continuos morphine drip to help his breathing and ease his mind a wee bit. Thanks Allah, his Missus listened to me to not request for artificial support ventilation to ease his breathing. He would not wake up from that and at point of death, conciousness to the very end is of prime importance. Allahualam.
To my mind it is a matter of hours or days. A day earlier I called his eldest son, Akashah to not leave his father alone in the room. They thankfully have already 'terminated' the service of the private Filipino night nurse who kept talking about Christmas and Jesus at 2 am in the morning! One talks about the proverbial "Whisperer' coming in with wine in one hand and milk in the other. This 'florence nightingale' probably thought in her innocence she is doing my friend a service. He mentioned to me about this young lady's adventurism. I thought it was pretty dicey situation, and told his wife to terminate her service.
I crept into his room just now sofly softly. He opened his eyes. I signaled to him not to talk, to save his breath and asked the nurses and his daughter in law with two grandsons to wait outside the room .
" I know you are just very weak and breathless, you could not even think of ' laila haillallah'. Just remember Him just by His names, the simple ones. Follow after me...ya Allah ya Allah ya Allah...
ya Rahman , ya Rahman, ya Rahman ya Rahman...ya Rahim, ya Rahim ya Rahim....ya Latif, ya Latiff............ya Rabb , ya Rabb.....Astagfirullah, astagfirullah, astagfurullah........................
Disregard people going and coming, just remember Him.
"laila haillallah muhammadarasulllallah , if you have the breath, otherwise say it mentally..."
"Insyaallah we will meet in Jannah...........".
He smiled and thank me.
I walked away knowing, insyaallah, he would have his 'hasnul khatimah', insyaallah.
He has been a picture of grace in his profesional life, and there insyaallah will be grace in even death.
At this point in time, that is the most important thing in his life: 'hasnul khatimah
The rest pales into insignificance.
Allahumma innaka Affuwon tuhibbul afwa wa' fuanni
[ Oh Allah, only You forgive, Forgive me ]
La ila hailla antasubha nakainni kuntominazlimin
[ There is no god but God, Without Your rahmat and blessing, I am one of the zalimun ]
Allahumma adkhilni Jannatul firdaus
Dr Sabri Rejab went on to join 'the realm of the Beloved', just now at 4 am, 25th December, surrounded by wife, and family at his last hour. He lived a life of grace and died also in grace.
He was in continuos zikr right up to the moment of loss of conciousness, I was told. Alhamdullillah.
Innalillah hiwainna ilaihirojion.
Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin al-Hamid, on ' Husnul Khatimah ' :