Unexpected incidents caught our emotions off guard. My question is, even if we do prepare ourselves for such loss, could we be sure that we will be okay? Would we handle things differently or will the overwhelming emotions still be catching on us?
Thank you Eera Zaher, for lending this to me :)
As I put the book down, I had this bottled up feelings inside of me, which content are from the emotions that all the characters have been going through. Like I was a part of them too. Oskar Schell, aged 9 has lost his father to the 9/11 incident. They had a very close relationship so it was very hard for him to deal with the loss. Different people dealt with their loss differently but they always got to the same place as they walk, a wall. There will always be this big, solid invisible wall built from all of your emotions that separated you from the real world. They could come in a square, a circle, a rectangle or even triangle with you in the centre of it, trying to find your way out. Or the wall could be in your way from reaching a destination. Or the emotions could come in a form of a boulder which you will be pushing in a circle. Your emotions determine the strength of the wall (or the boulder). The more intense your emotions are, the stronger the walls are. To break them down, you're gonna have to deal with your emotions first. If only we could ship away the feelings that we do not want to feel. Could we do that? I guess that's impossible.
A son loses a father. A wife loses a husband. A mom loses a son and a father loses a son.
And the father who left came back to mourn over his son's death. The one that he chose not to be with when he was still alive. Irony.
The losses on the book rooted in the events in which they do not have the power to stop them. A war. The 9/11 terrorist attack (so they said). In the book, after his father's death, Oskar found a key in a blue vase in his father's closet with a name on the envelope the key was put in, Black. He then set a search to find the lock to which the key could open, with the three clues; the key, a name and a vase. He was determined to go to every Black in the city and find the lock of the key. In his journey, the life of his family unraveled, told in different shades of colours but still revolving around the same story, a loss. Oskar's determination to find the lock was almost illogical. It would probably take him years to go to all the Black in the city and he still had a slim chance of finding the right lock but he was determined to find it.
The book is fascinating in a way how the characters dealt with their loss, very uniquely. In his visits, there was a Black who drew the face of the same man over and over again, there was a couple who made museums of each other, there was a person who lived in the Empire State Building since her husband died, and has not gone down since then. There was a Mr. Black who had always prepared snacks just in case the person he was waiting to come back show up. Mr. Black who lived upstairs had a tree that he pulled out of a park which he put in his bedroom, the tree which his wife stumbled over the root. After his wife died, he put a thumbtack every day on the tree until the tree becomes a mini magnet. How a couple separated because the husband was mourning too much in his past mistakes with his late father that it affected his marriage. The name Black itself is symbolic with what the colour is usually associated with. Darkness, emptiness, unpleasant things.
"I'm so afraid of losing something I love I refuse to love anything."
Another part that I loved was about his grandparents' relationship. They were survivors of the German war, in Dresden. They met each other in US and got married. His grandfather slowly lost his words in his speech and soon after, he stopped talking. Funny how his whole life since then could be seen in the pages on the books he used to communicate with people. They also had Nothing and Something area in their apartment. Whenever one was at the Nothing area, the other one must pretend that he/she does not exist, invisible. I guess when you had survived a grueling war and has lost the people so dear to you, sometimes when the memories came back you just need a space to evaporate yourself. To go to a place that does not even exist because it can further convince you of your non-existence. To not care and to not be cared for. You just want to be invisible even for a while. He left after he knew that the grandmother was pregnant. It violated the rules that they had agreed on, no children but he wrote letters to his son everyday ever since. To my unborn child, to my son. Most of them were not sent. His grandmother only ever gave one letter that the grandfather sent to his son.
Another thing that I love about the book is the pictures. Yes, those up there and also these;
By the end of the book, Oskar did found the lock of the key but it has got nothing to do with his father, it was someone else's father. There was also no mentioning whether he got over the grief or not. I guess it is hard, dealing with loss but I guess it's a part of the process in life. Our relationships with other people, are attachments of the world in which we could be broken beyond repair if we hold on to it too tight. But that does not mean that we should not love at all. I guess it would be a good idea to draw a line. I am not in any position to comment on this as different people would be dealing with different level of pain depending on what causes it.
But hey, I love this book.
To all those suffering from sadness or depression, know that it isn’t your fault. It isn’t because you’re weak. It isn’t because you’re just not grateful enough. It isn’t because you’re just not religious enough. It isn’t because you don’t have enough faith. It isn’t because God is angry with you. To all the well-meaning people who tell you this, just smile. And know deep in your heart that the tests of God come in different forms to different people. And know that, by the help of God, every test can become a tool to get closer to Him. And that, verily, with hardship come ease–and like all things of this world–this too shall pass.
In an unfortunate event happened to my sister, my Abah told her this to put her at ease and as she retold the story to me, it came to me that one of my 2012 mistakes was that I spent so much time questioning that I waste the time that I could use to improve. I ask about a lot of things. The hows and the whys especially. Some are answered, most are disappointingly go unanswered and it does upsets me personally. The thing about abstract questions is that it requires abstract answers which sometimes could only come from experience and time. Without we realizing it, not only it consumes our time but it consumes our spiritual energy, hence, the emotional rides. On the bright side, it could be one of the means to uplift your spirit. It makes you think and reflect yourself. Exploit all of the emotions, tell it all to HIM, and see the wonder it does.
The experience of going through one unfortunate event may take some time for us to understand the hikmah. Sometimes days, sometimes weeks and sometimes years. Maybe we could never understand it but unconsciously it changes our lives in a good way. Some things should not be questioned why but we should be clear of the impetus.
Fighting has been enjoined upon you while it is hateful to you. But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah knows while you know not.
I know one thing for sure, this is a test of patience and in this test, nothing goes in vain biiznillah.
My Abah is quite an adventurous person. He'd usually spent his weekends hunting with my uncles or some of his friends. Today, Abah got home from work at about 4 something. By 5, he packed up some culinary appliances and told us that he's going to paddy field for a while. He'll be back by night. "Outdoor!" he exclaimed with a smile after a hard day at work.
And here I am, waking up, watching tv, filling up my tummy whenever I'm bored, scrolling the timelines and blog walking.
I'm beginning to doubt my age and questioning my purposes in life.
When I went to BBW the other day, I bought a book entitled Mastering Filters for Photography which provides guidelines in using the filters, one my attempts in learning the technical aspects of it, just for a light reading. I thought that it may be useful for my brother and maybe when I want to learn photography seriously, it could come in handy. As I got home, my older brother took out the book and jokingly told my younger sisters, "Ni hah, Ain beli ko adik ambik ah." (something that I am not planning) My younger sisters, both are enthusiastic on the idea of photography screamed hysterically reaching out for the book before even knowing that the book is just actually about filters, not the angle techniques and all. One is 16 and another one, Adik is 13 and just started secondary school. She enrolled herself in the School's Photography Club. My older brother's provocation sent them rambling on how they are going to learn photography using my brother's camera. Adik held the book and asked, "Ain beli ko adik ke ni?" Seeing Adik so excited getting the book, I replied, "Hm, ambiklah." "Terima kasih!" she replied, grinning.
Maybe their interest was just a teenager's thing and the interest may fade in time. But regardless of the reasons and all, I guess it's a good thing to expose them to as many resources as possible while they are in it. The book may not be much of use to them, since we don't really use filters or even have many of them but I guess it's a good form of motivation. Motivation could be exploited, regardless the source.
For the extreme one unicorn of a ride I first had this year, I stumbled across this;
9. And if We give a man a taste of mercy from Us and then We withdraw it from him, indeed, he is despairing and ungrateful. -Dan jika Kami berikan rahmat kepada manusia, kemudian (rahmat itu) Kami cabut kembali, pastilah dia menjadi putus asa dan tidak berterima kasih. 10. But if We give him a taste of favor after hardship has touched him, he will surely say, "Bad times have left me." Indeed, he is exultant and boastful. -Dan jika Kami berikan kebahagiaan kepadanya setelah ditimpa bencana yang menimpanya, niscaya dia akan berkata, "Telah hilang bencana itu dariku. "Sesungguhnya dia (merasa) sangat gembira dan bangga, 11. Except for those who are patient and do righteous deeds; those will have forgiveness and great reward. -Kecuali orang-orang yang sabar, dan mengerjakan kebaikan, mereka memperoleh ampunan dan pahala yang besar.
It seems that I always forgot one thing every time I had one of those rides, I forgot to be thankful.
The very first thing that I should come up with; Alhamdulillah.
Assalamualaikum. Because I am a human, flawed and never was perfect.
As 2012 ended, I always thought that I should do a post-mortem of myself. But often it got stalled because truth to be told, I found out that 2012 has been able to point out so many of my flaws that has put me on shame. Shame of the mistakes. Silly mistakes I might add. Maybe that is one of the reasons why I always avoided that post-mortem. On the other hand, I am so grateful that He had showed me that before the disease got worse and incurable. Alhamdulillah. Yeah, He did showed me a lot through the people around me and I could never thank HIM enough for that.
There was a lot to be thankful for though sometimes I prove to be not strong enough to be thankful for everything as my guard was pulled down to the centre of the earth by the worldly temptations, leaving me defenseless. One of the things that I am most thankful for is the people around me. To be specific, my dear classmates. They reminded me of simple things that I have forgotten which if it is lost, can lead me to a big loss. No matter how a unicorn of emotional ride I had (yeah, there were lots of them in 2012), at least I know that I would always be going back to the people who would be able to remind me of the good side of it. Ya know, like finding diamonds in the midst of ashes. Okay, that doesn't sound like a good analogy but oh well.
Actually, there were a lot of things from 2012 but to sum it up, I guess the first one that comes into my mind are the one that I found more meaningful were:
1) Independence. More independent, mentally, spiritually and physically (though I'm still working on that)
2) To be grateful for everything I have specifically, my family. It's good to know that no matter how messed up you are, they would always be there watching your back. Alhamdulillah.
3) My friends and classmates. For being a good reminder of so many important little things in so many ways. Very supportive too. Such an awesome group of people they are. Allah bless them.
4) Something that you love doing in the past doesn't necessarily have to be in your present to make you feel good because at every stage, life could be highlighted by so many different things. I fret so much of not trying to get into the debate team in Degree till then I realized this.
5) Leadership. Turned out that leading myself is the best I can manage now. This comes from somewhere. Thank you somewhere.
6) Marriage. Not that I'm planning one (yet) but I realized that the preparation of it doesn't start from the day you decided you are on the right time to get married, it actually starts now, spiritually speaking. The people around me also taught me to have a more realistic view on this. Guess it's a part of adulthood.
7) If you wanna do it and your gut is okay with it, go do it. Better regretting doing it than regretting not doing it. Yana taught me this. She could be a really good counsellor no kidding.
8) Stop wasting time on planning. If you want result, well you gotta start working. Though this is in my schemata, it seems that it takes time to get into that equilibrium lulz.
9) Self-efficacy comes from ample knowledge and trust in faith. You gotta build it from the inside. This might sound cliche but you gotta have faith in yourself. (Thank you Educational psychology) :P and last but not least, actually it's the most important one,
10) I learn to love the right one though it is much more difficult than simply believing the lies though you know they are not true (the lies I mean) metaphorically speaking.
All in all, I remember 2012 as a rough year with some candies thrown here and there. But hey, you know what they say, success comes from bitterness (seriously this sounds much better in Malay). Let see what 2013 has to offer.
May Allah ease :)
Btw, we had a class partayh today. Needless to say it was great! :)
So today I have just started my Final Exam and we got back our Test 2 Phonology Paper. Wait, what?
Anyway, today, is the birthday of a good friend of mine. Yes, thank you for pointing that out. I forgot. Again. Seriously I have no idea why do I keep forgetting dates. But hey, she was cool with it though I felt dead guilty. Maybe that should go into a new year resolution list, birthday list. The part that I'm scared of is that if forgetting what seems to be important to the people I love signals that I am not appreciating the people around me that much as I should. May Allah forgive me.
Anyhow got Phonetics on 12. Life's good.
I would appreciate a prayer for me thank you yes this paper is kinda a killer. For me. K.
Alhamdulillah, praise be to Allah for another chance of another year. The start of the day marks another year. Truth to be told, I do not really see what is the big deal with new year. The celebrations, the wish and all but looking at another side of it, new year can be a good mark to see how far have we walked, because at the start of every year, we get to evaluate our performance in life in relevance to the time setting of our study and life. Another new year coming also reminds me how closer we are to death, just like how birthdays are. But then, sad to admit, I know the fact well but to get me really understand what 'death' actually meant, took more effort than just knowing and realizing.
Anyhow, the topic that people usually talk about as we go shouting "Happy New Year!" is . . . *drumroll* NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS! Yeay. New. Year. Resolutions. I suck at this. Back in 2012, I only had few simple goals and so far, Alhamdulillah, I managed to get two or three on track. While I have the other 7 entah ke mana hahaha baiklah ini tidak lucu sebenarnya hmm.
The way I see it, whenever I look back at my last year's resolutions and how there were so many other things I could not keep on track doing them only remind me of how much time have I wasted. Like seriously. If I were to recall back how 2012 was like, I barely remember anything compared to 2011. I didn't even update my blog that much poor bloggie. These few days, as I still had some stuff on ma plate when as a matter of fact this is the study week and I am supposed to do my revision but I can't because I still have to submit three assignments and a test, I feel suffocated, choked by time. I am at home. I am supposed to enjoy the home moments you know what I mean? And it hits me, (this happens allllllll the time) 'IF only you did your work earlier' 'IF only you did not waste so much time getting distracted with the internet'. The IFs troop coming marching in my head. If this and if that. And Ustazah Rodiah's conclusion from a hadith in the Qada' and Qadar lesson came into surface, pushing the IF's troops of sentences away, "The word IF will only open a door to the syaiton, don't lament the IFs."
2013: It's time I start setting up my own garden of pwetty and fragrant flowers.
Gonna chop all the weeds away.
The forbidden 'if' that we are talking about here is when you regret something, saying that if only you could do something to fix that something. The past is gone, it went down like dusk to dawn (yeah sing it with me, no? K) so be it. Leave the past. It's a good place to visit, but not a good place to stay. Ever notice how sometimes we spend our time regretting something so much that it actually took the time that we could actually do something more awesome than the thing we spend so much time regretting? Lets not have that anymore. My point here is, though as cliche as it might sound, the year 2012 taught me that, if you wanna do something. go for it. At least you won't be regretting not doing it. Often we regret things we don't do while we have the chance.
With this new year coming, hopefully I'd be able to keep myself on track with the list. 356 pages sure is a lot to write on. Hopefully, biiznillah, I'd be able to narrate awesome moments. With that, have a great year ahead people :D