September 23rd 1999 and October 21st 2008 – A Tribute to Mother and Father (Part 1)
19 Years ago at 1999, I was 11 years old, my favorite song was “Dan” by Sheila on Seven. That time also stamped and carved a strong memory that my mother passed away at Dharma Husada Hospital in Surabaya caused by breast cancer at stadium 3rd. I was lying on my bed with my cousin from Pontianak, kak Yeni, in which she intentionally visit our family with my Aunt to take care of my mother, since my father in duty at the office in Tanjung Perak port.
I don’t have a lot of memories with my mother, since she was busy for expanding her business in embroidery design and becoming a make up artist. My mother fortune is proliferating after we moved into our new home, in which she was the architect of the building, after we moved in, she gave birth to my young brother in February 1994; right before USA world cup at June 1994.
My mother was so entrepreneurial, creative, and determined woman. She expanded her business across Surabaya, Jakarta and Pontianak through network she build from my father’s network and family. She changed our family life from living in 16 square meter room into 1800 square meter home. I remember almost everyday she asked me to join her, sometimes riding my father’s white Vespa; which is a grant from my uncle; to oversaw the progress of our home. She put attention into every detail of the house and intensely communicated with the head of the handyman name Pi’i which also our extended family.
She earned the money coin by coin and put it into a 1 meter tall piggy bag from her fees of helping our neighbor tailor the clothes and my father also save some of his salary, in which lately my aunt inform me that she helped to fund the roof. After moving into our new home, she later learned how to become make up artist in Surabaya. She earned a lot of certificates from hair dressing until Javanese and Europe wedding make up at top beauty center in Surabaya.
In early 1995, my mother open a salon in our home, where she later filled it with many wedding gowns from Solo to Europe and the whole or completed wedding decoration which she intentionally reserved from Jepara, Pasuruan. She was also actively supporting orphans, mosques, and sacrifice lamb every year. She frequently conduct salvations or “selamatan”, in which the big family will join hands to cook in our home, lately I realized that her role was pivotal to unify family and neighbor. Usually my aunties, grandmother, and some close neighbors would be in our kitchen and dining room to cooked, joked, and told old stories. she was the golden girl of my grandmother.
Becoming more busy, she hired a maid from Banyuwangi, with my auntie recommendation to helped her took care our home, cooked and nanny for my recently birth brother. During 1996-1998 during rising issues Asian economic crisis, the collapse of New Order era my mother business was growing fast. She bought car, lands, and bought many embroidery machines as an investment to her business. She also the one who insured our education, in which she will receive the fund every year during the school intake. She bought car even she unable to drive due to high frequency of trip to Surabaya to buy material at Pasar Turi, Pasar Atom, and Jembatan Merah, to learn and frequently copies by her eyes of embroidery design in Malls in Surabaya, and draw it onto onionskin until late night, then she will pass on to designers in Rembang and Nganglang, where she appointed some trusted embroiderer to create the gown or Kebaya.
She loves to collect ancient goods, such as Chinese jars, Javanese kingdom utensils, and woody furniture. When I was five, I remember to visit her favorite shop in Surabaya to buy all the imported goods which also sold Chinese imported good where she could buy in discounted price. I remember she bought me first red G-Shock watch. I suddenly became famous among my friend since nobody owned that watch at that time. She gave me for my 5th birthday.
It was until early 1998, where she found to got cancer. However she still actively running business. At that time she got a lot of clients from officials and a Surabaya top designer. I feel she has a fortified spirit to keep alive. She visited many doctors, It was my first time to visit Undaan cancer center in Surabaya, at that time i didn’t even know what a breast cancer is, either the risk. what I remember was she always brought me to McDonalds at Plaza Surabaya to get Happy Meal package and play at the McDonald Playground for hours. Meanwhile She also looking for alternative cures for her illness and gain support from some families who got cancer and cured.
In early 1999, our family visited Pontianak to get alternative treatments, from Chinese Medical until Spiritual Guru. We spent almost a month in Pontianak. But she ain’t got better. We were back to home with some traditional yet mystical herbs made of sandalwood powder and tree parasite and cooked over boiled water. A month later she went to Hospital at Adi Husada and relocated to Dharma Husada. I only visited her twice at Dharma Husada. When she still got infused on her arm in a regular room until the second infuse turned into her noose in a yellow colored liquid in the isolation room. Some days later she passed away.
She was born at February 22nd 1960. She passed away at September 23rd 1999. She passed away at 39 Years old. Her favorite food was Meatball and Chinese Noodle which also some people said that caused her cancer. Her favorite singer was Reza Artamevia,, her favorite movie series was Oh mama oh papa, and her favorite jewelry was pearl from Sumbawa, in which my Aunt live for years and my mother will buy lots of pearls and crafted it into jewelry.
That what I only remember of my mother. I believe her spirits always guided me wherever I go. I hope I also have her entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and determination to get so many achievements in a young age.
Almost 20 years after the wedding, my father became a widow and raise three kids alone for the next 9 years before finally he also leaving the kids due to unknown illness, but in which lately I think it was loneliness that made him leave this world at age 59.
Kopi Oei – 1st Muharram 1440 H