His sister stroked his hair and whispered, ”Can you hear me, little brother? What are you dreaming of right now? Where have you been? Whom have you met?” Dwen didn’t answer, of course. He has not been able to respond since his last surgery. He looked really peaceful, as if he was just asleep.
Every corner of our house reminds me of him. The kitchen and how he would help me do the chores. Our basket of laundry and how he would take the wet clothes from the bucket and handed them to me one by one. The chair where I usually sit and how he would approach and asked me, ”Are you tired, Bunda (Mom)? Can I get you a drink?” His toys and how he would always tidy them up after playing. The window from which I could see him running from the field across our home, holding something in his little hands, “These are for you, Bunda.” And those were the most beautiful flowers I had ever seen.
The memory of him is still so vivid for me. He was born a healthy baby - our youngest and our only son. He brought so much joy to our lives. But to me, he was more than that. He was the love of my life and I was his first love. He grew like any other boy his age, active and full of life. Nothing seemed to be wrong. However, in August 2019 when he was just five years old, he vomited several times. When he didn’t get better, we had him checked at the hospital. The most devastating news were uttered from the doctor’s mouth that forever changed our world, “He has brain cancer, Medulloblastoma,“ the doctor informed us. I was numbed. My entire world crashed before me.
After that, Dwen had to undergo 3 surgeries and 30 cycles of radiationtherapy. I wondered how he could cope with all the pain in his body, yet continued to be so kind and gentle? Why wasn’t he cranky? Why didn’t he complain? Even in his sickness, he never failed to spread joy and showed his love to me. “I love you, Bunda (Mom). Let me help you, okay?”
In the midst of all this, as our spirits were crushed and we struggled financially, God opened a way for us though the support, friendship and encouragement from Rachel House. Nurse Dadan and Rachel House’s team visited us regularly, not only to check on Dwen’s condition but also to support us with basic necessities such as diapers, milk and medicine. They strengthened our wobbly spirit as we journeyed through the darkest times of our lives. I felt like I had an extended family who held us and guided us through the frightening moments of physical pain and emotional turmoil that came in blows after blows.
Fasting month this year was unlike any other year. Dwen needed to undergo his 17th surgery; however unlike his other surgeries, this time he didn’t wake up from the surgery. He was lying in his bed with his cat finding comfort at his feet. I was really grateful, though, we got to celebrate Eid Al-Fitr together. We put a white “Koko shirt” (male shirt for celebrating Eid Al-Fitr) on Dwen and took pictures together. He breathed his last breath 5 days after that.
Dwen passed away at the age of 7. Our house is very quiet without him. There will no longer be small footsteps running into the house from across the fields, bringing me flowers and a bright smile that accompanied the soft voice saying, ”These are for you, Bunda (Mom). I love you.” He may no longer be here, but the memory of him is still lingering in our hearts and thoughts.
I love you, too, my little angel. Till we meet again.