Around 3am Monday morning my mobile phone rang. When I saw the caller ID, my heart skipped. Immediately I was thinking.. "Oh, No.. please let it not be true".
My instinct was right. This friend of mine called to say that our close friend, Dahlia, has finally rested in peace at 2am.
Even though I sort of expected this to come, but still when the time came, I was not prepared for it. After a brief silence, I couldn't help crying. But I know this is the best for Dahlia. GOD loves her more and GOD doesn't want her to go through the sufferings anymore.
Dahlia was diagnosed with stomach cancer (stage 3) in May 2007. At that time the tumor had spread to lymph nodes and she was recommended by doctor to go for chemo to downstage it. Even though she did all the recommended treatments faithfully, unfortunately, it didn't help much.
I went a couple of times to visit her but somehow did not manage to see her during Ramadhan (still feel bad for not doing so). Tried to go on two occasions but both times I had to postpone as she was undergoing her chemo. Only managed to see her after Hari Raya on 19th Oct and I was shocked to see the changes in her. She lost so much weight and was down to 43 kg at that time. Imagine that much of weight on somebody who is 5'5" tall!
It was really sad to see a once bubbly and very cheerful person in such condition. After my initial shock of seeing how frail and weak she was, her mother asked me to sit on the chair next to her bed and I held her very thin hands. When I greeted her, I could see the effort it took her to open her eyes and look at me. But she did and she even managed a smile. After a while, she managed to say a few words to me.
I remember helping her to go to the bathroom and all I could feel was bones. It took a lot of effort not to cry in front of her. A few of us who are close to her promised her husband not to shed any tears when we see her and we had to honour that promise.
Before I left, she said to me to call her husband if I want to visit her as she will not be answering her calls. When I heard that, I know she wanted me to visit her more often. Luckily I did, almost everyday except for 3 days when I was sick. If not, I will regret it for the rest of my life.
A few days after that her condition got worse and on Tuesday, 23rd October, the family decided to send her back to Gleneagles Hospital as she was so dehydrated and weak.
When I visited her last Saturday, she was in so much pain. Her breathing was difficult, her face was very pale and even though her eyes were opened, she seemed like she was in another world. The doctors couldn't do anything much as they had exhausted all means and she was relying mainly on painkiller aka morphine. Visitors were not encouraged and we had to go in one by one.
It was a bit too much for me seeing her like that. I was in her room for about 5 minutes only and I quickly left and joined other friends outside the room. Seeing her like that drained all my energy. She was hurting very much and there was nothing that anyone could do except kept telling her to have faith in Allah and have patience.
I managed to hold my tears until I was safely in the car. I cried all the way home to Shah Alam
I thought of going to the hospital again on Sunday but I cancelled it. I didn't have enough guts to see her in so much pain. I knew I would breakdown and cry. I kept imagining what if I am in her situation. How will I take it? How will my family take it? The thought of her daughter who is only four years old growing up without a mother breaks my heart. She is too young to understand.
I prayed to GOD to ease her pain and give the best for her. Looking at her, I knew her time was very near.
So, when I received the call early yesterday morning, there could only be one thing. She must have made it.
According to her mother, she passed away in peace. She was calm. When I kissed and bid farewell to her before her jenazah was sent for burial yesterday, I knew our prayers were answered. This is the best for her. There will be no more pain for her.
I still find it a bit overwhelming. It is surely very difficult to say goodbye to a very dear friend whom I have known since I was 13. We were roomates back in our MRSM days, housemates when we were in States and housemates when we started working. We shared a lot of memories together.
To Dahlia dearest, you will always be remembered and sadly missed by us all. May your soul rest in peace. Al Fatihah.