18/08/2020 marks a 100 days since Mizah passed. It would also have been our 7th wedding anniversary. It’s hard to not see it as more than a coincidence.
It’s been a few weeks since I discovered the coincidence of dates. It kept surfacing up in my mind and demanded attention, and I eventually did what all of grieving demands of me. I sat with it. I didn’t have the strength to revisit wedding photos and videos. But I did dust off the words that I wrote and promised her:
I vow to always treat you with tenderness, warmth and love, not only when you are easy to love, but also when you are difficult or when I am.
I vow to be your husband, your friend, your soulmate, in young and old age, good fortune and bad luck, dark sickness and pink of health and everything else in between.
I vow to begin and end each day together with love and gratitude for your presence in my life.
I vow to be open, loyal, respectful and truthful to you in every thought and action.
I vow to love you for who you are and none of your current or future scars can make me love you any less.
We had also hoped for a life that we could live well with each other, have kids, grow old together, and then ’till death do us part’; but we only got two out it. That’s the life that we were gifted and it was still pretty damn good.
It’s no surprise or secret that she was the best of me and the one who brought out the best in me. I was a man in search for a home and I found it in wherever she was. She was my companion and my light, and now she is a star — one of the stars in the universe that might be gone but still sending its light through space and time, bright in the sky, beautiful to look at, and still helping me to navigate through new adventures.
It’s fair to say that the last 100 days have been nothing short of a wild adventure. In that time span, I have:
Lived through the Hari Raya Puasa & Hari Raya Haji festivities without her
Lived through her birthday without her
Went into isolation and then learned how to crawl out of it to meet close friends and family.
Packed and donated away a lot of our things
Experienced too many flashbacks from the last 3 months of the most intense stage of caregiving while under Covid19 lockdown
Seen my therapist a few times
Slept very little and a lot
Cried a lot at predictable times. Then a lot at unexpected times. And now just letting it happen when it needs to happen which on the whole is slightly lesser
Struggled with being sad, and then learning how to live with it
Started learning how to cook properly
Watched too much Netflix
Got a PC and started playing PC games
Got back to work and started to try and figure things out by going through it
Got back to a meditation practice
Learned to put the social back in social media but not ready to put social into social life
Wrote more words than I’ve written in the last 1 year
Walked hundreds of kilometers
Considered and embraced the possibility that there are new adventures to be lived
Decided to sell the house and start afresh elsewhere
Start designing my new house
Re-learn how to smile & laugh & enjoy things
Tried to bake bread
Adopted a cat
Clearly a lot has happened in that 100 days. A period where Grief and Happiness have been slowly converging to become a completely new set of feelings that I am constantly learning how to be comfortable with. Behind all of this is the promise I made to Mizah towards the end of her life. She was always worried about what my life would look like in the future and she made me give her my word that I will take care of myself and figure out how to move on. That is the nudge behind all the things I am doing, and the rest is just pure momentum.
It has been 101 days since Mizah said her last words to me. Deep in the middle of the night, after I had cleaned and carried her to the bed, she muttered weakly to me, “Thank You Sayang”. I replied with a whisper to her ear, “I love you, now go get some rest.” I didn’t know then that it would be the last words we would say to each other. I hope she knows that the pleasure, honour, and privilege of the life we had together was all mine. All 7 glorious years of married life and the couple before that when she became part of my life.
7 years later, 100 days later, and many more to come. She is and will always be loved.
Dispatches is my monthly letter to you about our shared humanity and life in cities. I send it out on the last Tuesday of every month.