August 17th

In Indonesia, August 17th each year is a special occasions. It is Indonesian Independence Day. One fond memory I had was the 50th anniversary of Indonesia’s Independence  . It was a glorious and happy occasion. Bright lights and festivities all around.


Unfortunately, what I am about to tell is not a happy memory. August 2003, I was in Sydney for my study, which was get into the second stage of study. I have been working for  both  University of Sydney and University of Technology Sydney.  I have just passed my proposal examination, have just submitted a full version of my first ever conference paper in Madrid (the abstract have been declared accepted). Retno (my wife) was working as kitchen hand and cyber cafe operator and enjoying life in Sydney. We were happy and content. We were DINKY (double income no kid) couple

One day my mother called us and told as that my father was admitted to hospital and getting worse. He was in intensive care unit and unconscious . My mother asked Retno to asked me  to come home. I was reluctant at first but then Retno insisted that we came home. She has bought a return tickets for both of us (due back in two weeks). I secured permission to leave from Didar (my supervisor), Kaye Osborn (AusAid Liaison Officer), and Jenny Leonard (my boss at Sydney Uni). We came home.

After my return, my father  regained some of his consciousness and aware that I was there. He was out of ICU and admitted to ordinary room. However, he was never get any better. He had high fever and nobody knew the cause.

On August 17th 2003 (Sunday) morning, I was in hospital relieving my youngest brother Nana from his night duty to wait for my father. While he was washed by nurse, I was asked to step outside. From the balcony I saw the celebration. About 10 my mother came to relieve me and I was away to deal with my employer.

In the afternoon when Retno and I visited my father, my mother was so sad. She said that the doctor have given up. It was a shock to me and I could not believe it. Later on about 6 pm after the visiting hour we went home. My high school best friend, Kelik was with us. We left my younger brother Dea on guard. My youngest brother was in church.

We have just arrived and wait for Nana outside our home (he had the keys) and I have just decided to postpone my return to Sydney for another two weeks when Dea called. HE said that my father was critical. Kelik immediately made him available for me. We rode his motorbike. We arrived at hospital safely (thanks God). I could not find my brother Dea on my father’s room. However, I saw nurses and doctors tried to resuscitate my father (mind you he was a big man). Finally the doctor declared him passed away.

After the nurses dismantled all medical equipments and covered him with blanket, I came close to him. I was so sad when I said goodbye to him and told him to be on his last journey. I said that I would take care everything and he should not be worry. After that everything was a blur, I had to get some money for funeral then my mother, Retno, and I gave my father a bath, and the we came home with my father.

Luckily all my best friend were there for me, Kelik was there, Pak Tonny and Pak Koes were there. Some colleagues from the office were also came. Later that night Pak Siswanto was accompanying me all night beside my father.

It is now 8 years (sewindu in Javanese). All the fond memories are the only things I had.

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