Monday, 24 March 2014

Four Letter Words

My heart sank when I heard the Prime Minister Najib Razak confirmed that MH370 ended in South Indian Ocean.  Although the SAR team has not found any physical evidence such as debris or raft, we are told to assume that there is no survivor. The harsh weather and its remote location suggested that it is nearly impossible for anyone to survive.

I am no expert in aviation, geography or technical matters but deep inside my heart, I refused to believe that it is the end.  I have no friend or relative on board of MH370 but like a lot of people, I share the same anguish, sadness and bitterness with the friends and relatives of MH370 crews and passengers.

I am still in a denial mode.
I am still hoping that the image sighted by the satelite do not belong to MH370.
I am still hoping that even it they are the debris of MH370, maybe the flight didn't crash but land on sea.
I am still hoping maybe there are survivors floating on rafts waiting to be rescued.
I am still hoping some of the passengers were washed away into a deserted island like the TV series "Lost".

HOPE is the four-letter word that I live by for the past few weeks. I still want to hold on to it.

As a Muslim, I believe that our time on earth is pre-determined by Allah.  No one gets out from this world alive.  Everyone will die. When, where and how we die is not up to us.  It is the sole prerogative right of Allah, as our creator, to determine the details of our deaths.  As human beings we can't understand why bad things happen.  With limited wisdom and knowledge, it is hard for us to understand Allah's plans.

I am writing this blog with mixed emotions.  My eldest daughter, Amber, flew to Beijing last Sunday for Student Exchange Program with her school.  There are 10 students and 16 teachers from Sekolah Kebangsaan TTDI 1 in that program.  It was with a heavy heart when I told Amber that everything would be OK. Although I told her it's gonna be alright, deep inside, I was worried.  It is her first time going abroad without me.  It's her first "sleepover" in a foreign land.

I saw her nervous during the last briefing at school. She asked me, "What if the flight disappears like MH370?" I told her that there are more road accidents than flight accident. "Everyday there are thousands of people killed in road accidents.  This MH370 case is unprecedented and it's very rare." I also told her, "When you are scared and nervous, just pray and talk to Allah.  He will be with you everywhere you go.  You also have 2 angels who follow you all the time, one on your right shoulder and another one is on your left."

She nodded.  I could see that she was calmer.

After the bus left from school to LCCT, my mind raced.  Her question "What if the flight disappears like MH370?" lingered.  Yes, what if it happened to her?  What would I do?

Last night after I watched the press conference by the Prime Minister, the question popped back.  What if...??

I couldn't sleep thinking about it.

I am aware that Amber and Nadine are not entirely mine.  They are "loaned" by Allah and will be taken back one day.  When I thought about the "what if", my mind didn't think about the time they are taken back by Allah.  I had images of Amber screaming, being scared and panicked..... and I was not there.  If I were in the flight with her, I would hold her hands, hug her and prepare us "to go" and meet our creator together. But she is alone... Who will comfort her? Who will calm her?  Who will take care of her during emergency landing? Will she be able to put on oxygen mask herself?  Will she be able to put on the life jacket and inflate it? Will she get cold when the plane land on sea? What if she washed away to a deserted island? Who will take care of her? Will she be found? If she were found 10 years from now, will she remember me? Will she suffer?

I know it sounds crazy.... But I couldn't help the images from rushing into my head. I am not sure if other mothers ever experience what I had experienced as a mother. There were nights when I couldn't sleep thinking about hundreds of what ifs. It began when I was pregnant with Amber.  I had hundreds of negative "what ifs" that kept me worried all the time.  In reality, all the what ifs never happen but I still entertain the thoughts.  There were nights when I cried myself to sleep thinking about those crazy thoughts. I know I shouldn't think like that, so I tried to push the thoughts away from my mind.  Over the years it gets better, I seldom cried myself to sleep anymore...... until I heard the disappearance of MH370. All the what ifs came back happily, occupying and terrorizing one side of my brain.

Last night as I was putting Nadine to sleep, I was reminded of the words I told Amber before she went on board the bus.  She is constantly accompanied by two angels and Allah will always be with her.  I have to trust Allah completely. As hard as it is to accept that there is someone else who loves Amber more than I do, I have to acknowledge that as her creator, Allah loves and knows her much more than I do.  This thought calmed me.

At 2 am, the teachers sent messages in the group whatsapp that they were in Beijing.  They sent pictures of the children walking in the airport. At 7.30 am they sent pictures of our children, all dressed up and ready for kompang performance at Chui Yang Liu Primary School.  Later in the evening, Amber sent me messages about her first experience making dumplings at school canteen.  She also sent messages when she arrived at her host family's apartment.

I slept with a smile knowing that she is well taken care of.

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