Kia ora! Welcome to Christchurch, New Zealand. My home for the next two years. Who doesn’t feel excited at all when you’re move out into a new place that beyond your expectation? I never expect that NZ Aid would give me this wonderful opportunities to pursue my master in Geographic Information Science (GIS) at University of Canterbury (UC). You know that excitement, that euphoria, that happiness. Another good news was, who knows you will spent a week for a field trip as part of your course! I feel I got an “A+” already.
23 February 2015, about 2.00pm, I just arrived in Kaikoura Field Station. I couldn’t wait to introduce myself to my classmates. I connected my phone to the wireless connection and I got tons of message, a shocking message from my sister: “Emir, I’m so sorry but our dad is passed away”.
That terrible feeling. I feel I got struck by a lightening hundred times. I’m trying to be calm as possible, take a deep breath, then just continue what I’m doing and pretend nothing happens back home. Then one of the lecturer handed over a jar which contains random question that you have to answer while people introducing themselves. My question was: “If you want to talk with someone at this moment, who you want to talk with?” Suddenly, a glimpse of my dad’s face jumped into my mind. The lightning struck right into my heart, my body start shaking, I’m losing control. I just want to talk with my dad at that moment, but I was 7,588 km away. Then I walkaway outside and borrowed a phone to call my mom and it is confirmed. My dad is passed away.
That excitement, that euphoria, and that happiness turned into the darkest nightmare of my life ever. I am turned weak. Trying to keep my sanity, figuring out what should I do? I want to go home but at the same time I don’t want to bail out for my first day in uni. Even I’m allowed to get home, how I could buy the ticket? I don’t have that much money. What about my scholarship? What about everything else? Even if I got home, it’s too late already. My dad is gone! I can’t see his face anymore!
UC student development was very caring, I got my ticket back home anyway in the next hour. When you traveling, especially back home, you should be excited because you’re bringing a whole of your experience back home. However, not this time. I couldn’t sleep along the way. Trying to ask myself, what should I do when I got home? I was very upset for the whole flight. Christchurch – Sydney – Singapore – Jakarta, then bus to Bogor. Estimated flight time was 19 hours.
When I arrived at home, I’m out of words. I couldn’t say anything except trying to be myself again as usual (and not to cry in front of everyone). I heard stories how my dad passed away. I’m still upset, I should be next to him before he passed away. He always sit next to me whenever I need him. I remember back in 2009 when I literally almost die because of dengue fever. He always there for me.
Well, I only spend three nights at home. I have decided to go back to Christchurch as my mom said so. It’s one from many things that can make my parents proud of me. Still, it’s a bit hard for me to left home. I usually never have any problem living in a new place as I used to travel a lot. I’m very adaptive and never feel home sick because I know how to handle it. I never afraid to be away from home because I know I will comeback to meet my parents and my sisters again. However, starting this moment, even I’m away from home, I can feel the difference that I won’t meet my dad anymore when I got home.
Well, that was my darkest week in my life so far. But that’s how life’s work. You will never know that things can changed very quickly.
It’s believed that the soul of the departed remains wandering on Earth during the 40 day period, coming back home, visiting places the departed has lived in as well as his fresh grave. Today it’s the 40th day since my dad passed away. I believe he lives in better place now.