Not Justice League, but My Family
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 ( 11:40 pm )


It has been a while. And I wouldn't be here if it weren't important.

Say, you remember that time when you asked your dad for your first phone? When everyone else started to have theirs, it felt compulsory to have one because it would be "easier to communicate" with each other. Then do you remember when you asked your mum for that latest smartphone? Everyone started to use WhatsApp, Viber, BBM, and such, and communication became "much easier" and hence it felt compulsory to have one? And you just could not miss out on all those games to play and apps to use? And do you remember the time you asked (or at least hoped) for a car or a motorbike, because you felt that you needed it to ease your daily tasks? Oh you know what I mean, getting to class would be much easier than walking, grocery shopping would be much easier than to have to catch the bus, etc. Have you ever really thought of how much money it had cost for all of that to be made possible by your parents? Have you ever really thought about all the costs your parents had paid for you during your school years? Have you ever really thought about how much money had been spent when you first came into this world? All the milk bottles, the diapers, the clothing, and then you grow up so fast so more clothing, and then your first bed, and then your other 10,000 firsts.

Now take off your shoes and put on another's.
What do you think a non-verbal, mentally challenged or person with developmental disabilities would ask(or say to) their parents?
"Dad, I need this gadget so that I can tell you what I like."
"Dad, I need a wheelchair so I can move about in the house."
"Dad, I need a different wheelchair for playing outside."
"Mum, I don't like this food. I don't want this. I hate it."
"Mum, I want to go out now. Why won't you let me?"
"Mum, I don't understand you.'
"Mum, Dad, why won't you understand me?"

Many years ago I couldn't understand why this type of person couldn't understand me. But now I get it. This person has been asking me why I don't understand him... but he couldn't say it. But only show.

My eldest brother is an adult with Autism (ASD). He is non-verbal, and highly dependent in his daily activities. He can has very few basic activity of daily living skills, however there still is a need of supervision and an attendant to help him out with his care. He is home-bound. And unfortunately there isn't much for him to do. Well, this country hasn't much to offer him. And I hope I can change that. He loves playing with straws or anything small enough for him to "twirl" with his fingers. He enjoys music (the Beatles, to be specific. ehem)and loves to make "singing" sounds. He is rather cute, I would say. Like the sunshine of our family. Though caring for him isn't the simplest task.

He had recently undergone surgery on his right eye, as he had a total retina detachment. His left eye is developing a cataract, and again, an operation must be done in another few months time. When mum had said his vision might not be the same again, and when dad had said "Bapak rasa macam nak nangis", I had felt like I had just been hit by a bus.. again, and again, and again. My heart was broken. And only broken to know I could not be there with him, with my mother, who was caring for him at the hospital. Truth to be told, I had no idea what to do, or what to say. I refuse to talk about it to anyone thinking NO ONE would understand. So why waste my time chit chatting about it? When no one would probably know what to say to me? I strayed away from people, and at times I even refused to talk. I had felt so helpless, and the saddest I could be. I could not stop myself from becoming teary and the heart ached so bad. At a time where so much work had to be done, yet there I was trying to pick myself up, pushing myself to be strong, at least for my parents and family members. I had felt like I was punching myself to get through it. And you might wonder, "why are you taking it so hard on yourself?". Because my thoughts had gone to the extent of all the "what ifs". If my mum wasn't around, what would I do? Who would take care of him? Where would he live? What can I give? Where will I find the money to care for him? How do I become such a superwoman like my mother?

Now why am I sharing this with you, if I had thought no one would understand me? After careful consideration, I had decided to write this post anyway. I may have felt that no one had understood me, but with this post, I can tell someone that "I understand you". It has never been the easiest for me to really "share" my feelings. But alhamdulillah, after slowly opening up, I had good support and wishes from the people I know. Many have said, "focus pada pelajaran. Jangan terlalu difikirkan." Well, easier said than done. From that day, I had never felt so much determination to be as independent as possible. I want to be able to take care of myself. And hope that I can be as strong of a woman as my mother. But Alhamdulillah, my brother's eyesight is getting better. Mum says he seems much happier now. And if he's happy, if mum is happy, if dad is happy, and all of my other family members are happy, then I am happy insyaAllah.

This family of mine is no average family. Challenges come our way in the most unusual way. But Allah had bless my family with this special man. SubhanAllah, this man is with no sins. He is the man who was destined to be in our family. And this man is a gift. He is my brother. And I love him. And I am happy to be where I am today. I hope to continue to do good to him as much as I can. And hope I can be much of a stronger lady than before. Please keep him in your du'as. And keep me in there somewhere too.

This photo had really gotten to me. Taken by my sister after his surgery, it had made me teary, but with a little smile on my face. He may not understand what we say, but I'm pretty sure he can feel a mother's love. I love my family. They are indeed the strongest people I know who fight hardship in the most brilliant ways. No matter how far away they are, they will always be dear to my heart.

Til then, May Allah shower you with his blessings. Amin!

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