Haji Hamdan Bin Karim is my wife's grandfather. He is a very friendly and the most approachable person I've ever known. He lives in a huge, zinc roofed kampung house in Bau, Kuching. For my wife and all her counsins, he is known as "Nek Haji". As for all great-grandchildren, he is best known as "Atuk".
Atuk and us
Every now and then, family get together at Atuk's place for Tahlil, Birthday and of course every Raya. Atuk's house is actually a rendevous point for all of us. The best time to get to know all the family members is during the first day of Raya every year. It took me few Raya to fully understand and to familiarise all the family members' faces and names. When a new member of the family (just got married to one of the family member) came to his house and sitting alone on his sofa, he will sit next to him or her just to entertain them. It surely happen to me too. Though he is not a talkative person, but he is really a nice ice-breaker of the family. His soft spoken voice and nicely compose words somehow made us (all in-laws) feels the warm welcome feelings as if he is trying to tell us that we are now a part of his HUGE family.
I am not sure how old is Atuk. But I am sure he is 80 plus years old. Being an old man, he is not that strong anymore. Perhaps, his time has come to pass his legacy to the next generations. Atuk fell sick a month ago and he has been hospitalised since then. He cant barely move, cant eat and neither he talk to us like he always did. Maybe, he is just too old and too tired after all these years.
Hari Raya 2008 Reunion
Time flies. After four weeks keeping his strength to hold on, at last at about 10.15pm of 3rd of August, 2009 (Monday), Atuk passed away. Truth to be told, I am happy that Allah had taken him away because I could'nt bear to see him struggling to hold on his breath and strength just to entertain us while we visited him in hospital. But deep inside my heart, I feel very sad that I could no longer be able to sit next to him, talk to him, serve foods and drink for him and let him play with my children.
To Atuk, may your soul rest in peace... Al-Fatihah.