there are some days you want to remember for the rest of your life.
there are some days that you don’t want to remember at all.
there are some days that will just stay in your head no matter how much you want to forget it.
May 17, 2011 is the third kind for me. it’s the day when my sister’s husband passed away.
i’m not my sister, and i now live miles away from them, but the impact is just the same.
i want to forget this ever happened.
at the same time, i want to remember it. remember it well.
i want to wake myself up and tell myself it’s just a horrible nightmare.
at the same time, i want to sleep through all this and not having to face the world that will never be the same anymore.
i want to fast forward the time to the far future, when all this healing process is done.
at the same time, i want to rewind the time back to when everything was okay.
but i can’t do all those things. all i can do is go through it, step by step, just like everyone else in this life. we can’t cheat life, there’s no walkthrough nor cheat codes.
for 2 days i feel like i’ve been riding the biggest rollercoaster in life. i’ve cried, shouted in anger (to no one in particular), felt numb and out of tune with the rest of the world, and back to crying again. i’ve tried talking with my loved ones, and just being quiet with my loved ones.
now i’ll try to write it down. again, i have to say that i’m not my sister, who probably got the greatest impact of this all, and if you’re reading this & actually feel sad/the need to give your moral support, please, give them to her instead. she needs it more than i do.
the first time i met Victor, i thought he looked like a quiet penguin: white, with his beige ‘kupluk’ cap on all the time. one time (afterwards) when i & my sister went to some mall, we accidentally found a penguin toy with a yellow ‘kupluk’ cap, and it looked just like him!
as i got to know him, he wasn’t that quiet afterall. and when he did speak, he would let out the most meaningless jokes, that actually DID make me laugh.
…and how i remember his look to my sister on the day they got married. it must’ve taken a lot of love for a rocker guy to say “cheesy” vows to a woman in front of the whole church. but he did it. and even sang for her on the dinner reception too, even though (according to himself) he couldn’t sing.
when i just broke up with my last ex, i felt the need of a change of scenery. a place that i didn’t share with him. so my sister offered me to stay over at her place. her husband looked a bit surprised when he came home to their house and found me, but didn’t even ask questions, and i really appreciated that.
one time, one night, we got news from my sister that he had a motorbike accident. he was conscious almost the whole time, and i remember when they stitched his eyebrow, i took a picture of it, thinking that i would show it to him when it was all over since i knew he’d like that. i also still laugh sometimes when i remember that night when they were cleaning his wounds and he was in such pain, but instead of screaming & swearing he just made drumming sounds like “dududududuk tak dududuk tak!”. to this date, he’s the only person i know that can make a scary & sad moment like that so funny instead.
one day, when they were already living with my parents and me, he came home bringing some foods from his grandmum’s restaurant (i think). one of them was the infamous paniki. yes, bats. i was one of the few in our house who dared to try it (the other one was my dad. other than my sister’s husband himself of course). let me tell you, it’s one of the most delicious foods i’ve ever tasted in my whole life!
one of the last memories i have of him was when my sister was giving birth to Freya. my sister already broke her water early in the morning, but Freya wasn’t ready to come out yet. so they still had to wait for around 14 hours or so till the labouring process began. during that time, my sister was shouting out loud in pain, and once, i saw outside of the room that her husband hit the wall in anger, because there’s no one that could take the pain away from her beloved wife. i had no doubt in my mind that if he could, he would’ve gone through the labouring process himself instead of watching his wife being in pain like that. i don’t think i ever told this to my sister. well, sis, now you know.
after moving out from my parents’ place, miles away to the other side of the world, i only heard stories of him and them. sometimes i saw him through Skype when i talked to my mum and sister, and of course i met him too when i went to Indonesia last year.
i saw his works from the internet, photographs taken by him, and most of the time they touched me so that i started crying. pictures of kids living on the street, pictures of old men & women selling radios, chickens, sandals, everything, anything, to make a living. not many people take pictures of those kinds of things. simple, sad, but true things that are more often “meaningless” to people with cameras. he saw beauty in those things. and thanks to him, we saw beauty in those things too, through his pictures.
if i could defy the Almighty, i would say that he still has so much to give to us. to the whole world. he still has lots of things to show us, great things that he can do.
but none of us can defy Him. none of us know better than Him.
so with this writing, i will try to let him go.
on May 18, 2011, with the kind understanding of our apartment building’s master, a Finnish flag was raised half staff in front of our apartment. it is equivalent to the yellow flag in Indonesia.
when the flag was raised, first to the full height and then dropped to the middle part of the staff, the wind blew so that the flag waved beautifully. the sun shone from behind the grey clouds. my husband walked out to take pictures of the flag, because that’s what my sister’s husband would’ve done too: take pictures.
at the same time when the funeral began in Jakarta, we bid our goodbyes and prayed at the local church. the sun shone again from behind the windows of the church, and the candles were still & upright as if to lift his soul to the heavens.
i don’t know how long it will take for us to truly accept & believe the fact that he’s gone. i don’t know how to.
but i believe he is peaceful now up there.
we miss you already, Victor. really really miss you, and always will. till we meet again, keep making those meaningless jokes, eating those panikis, singing out of tune, taking pictures of simple things for the whole crowd of heaven.