Death — Its The End that Matters

Few days ago, my grandmother died.

It was sad, yet inspiring. I never knew about her struggle until I finally realized when the day comes.

During her last year, she spent most of the time on bed, as she had trouble walking and also had trouble recognizing faces, but she would remember when she heard the name.

When I told her that it was me, her grandson. She would then say how I remind her of my grandfather, she said: “your grandpa is also fat like you”. I never had any memories of my grandfather, he was murdered long before I was born, and we do not have any photos of him.

My grandmother was getting weaker by the time, but she said she still wanted to see her grandchildren marriage before she died. She always said she does not want to die until seeing my sister marriage.

When on bed, she would mumble by her own, saying that my grandfather visited her, asking her to come with him, and she would say: “no, I still wanted to see my grandchildren all married”. Sometimes she would keep praying asking for forgiveness to God, and whenever someone visited her, she would apologize to them if she had any mistake. She also keeps reciting the first part of Islamic shahada, (لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا ٱلله) — lā ʾilāha ʾillā llāh (There is no god but Allah), and sometimes also speak the second part (Muhammad is the messenger of God). Most of the time, she only speak those words. Or, when she needed help with something, she would call my mother.

About 2 weeks before she died, we were celebrating Islamic holiday, Eid Al-Fitr. In Indonesia, neighbors and relatives would visit each other and ask for forgiveness to each other. A lot of people coming to visit my grandmother, and she also apologized to them. Her condition got worse during the holiday, she does not eat much, she looks so skinny and her voice starting to disappear. When I sat next to her, she would grab my hand and say: “Forgive me, and please pray for my health”. I responded and tried to calm her, and she would continue reciting her usual words, closing her eyes, and sometimes I would see tears dropping from her eyes.

As the holiday ended, I went back to the town where I work. I expected that I will go back to my hometown during my sister marriage. But then, last Friday, July 7th, my dad called me and said that my grandmother passed away, just one week before my sister marriage. I said I will go back to my hometown this Friday evening, she was already buried when I arrived. My mother then tell me my grandmother last moments.

She was calm, her breath just fading slowly, she went away in peace. I then remember those words she recited. All those last few years she had, she was asking forgiveness to God, to everyone, seeking absolution. I remembered she was not a religious one, she does not understand Arabic and can not read the Qur’an. But she kept trying, she struggled alone asking for absolution, reciting her words day by day, night by night.

That moment, I noticed her struggle, and I prayed that God forgiven her mistakes after all those years she asked forgiveness to God and to everyone. After all, she died on Friday, and we Muslims believed,

“there is no Muslim who dies on the day of Friday or the night of Friday, but Allah will protect him from the trial (fitnah) of the grave.” (Narrated by Ahmad, 6546; al-Tirmidhi, 1074.)

I wish, we meet again someday, I prayed, I’d die in peace too, forgiven and prepared.