As the government continues to take measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus – a virus that has given 2020 the plot twist no one could have expected – we see both good news and bad news on the daily. Every day, Malaysians are given updates on the number of positive COVID-19 cases that have been detected, the number of people who have successfully beat the virus as well as the number of Malaysians we have lost to the pandemic. Sometimes, being detached from the situation, we forget that these “numbers” and “statistics” represent individuals that are loved, adored and mean the world to those who know them. For Fika Maira, it meant that she was saying goodbye to her father, after his weeklong battle with the disease. Speaking to Fly, Maira – the eldest daughter of the late Ahmad bin Ahmad Taib – described her father:
“Abah was a cheerful person who liked to joke with everyone. He liked classic Malay songs like those by P. Ramlee. He loved eating ikan rebus and mee jawa. But he himself was a great cook! His cooking was our favourite – simple but delicious and we’d call it ‘sambal belacan abah’ or ‘nasi goreng abah’ because it had his signature taste.”
At 58-year-old, the late Mr Taib succumbed to his battle with the COVID-19 disease at the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital in Ipoh last week. Since then, his last words to his family have gone viral, with many publications picking up the story and sharing his sweet words. For Maira, the immortalisation of her late fathers last words bring tears to her eyes as she remembers the father that he was.
She shared with Fly,
“I think a lot of fathers don’t usually say ‘I love you’ regularly but actions do speak louder than words right? It’s the same with my father. Every time he’d come back from somewhere, he would ask us what we wanted to eat. what we’d like him to bring back. Or, he would go out of his way to ensure we’d get our favorite food every time we’d gather.”
The late Mr Taib, who had been unable to talk to his family in his last moments, had written the note to share his wishes and with his family in his last moments. The note reads:
“Please pray and continue performing solat hajat. Forgive Abah. Take care, everyone.”
Unfortunately, the family were unable to keep the actual note for fear that it that been contaminated by the virus. But the one thing that they do keep close to their hearts, is the memories of the jovial, kind man that he was. For Maira, all the memories she has of her father are cherished ones, but the one that stands out…
“Everything I remember of him is my ‘favourite memory’. But what I remember most is on my wedding day – how he was so sad to hand me over to my husband, how he asked my husband to take care of me repeatedly.. . His love for me showed in every action and every word on that day.”
Maira has also taken the time to thank those that have reached out to her and her family with their prayers and love, sharing her appreciation for the frontliners who helped her and her family make their last video call with her father. She warns those who are still not taking the virus seriously,
“Covid 19 isn’t a joke guys.
Follow SOP dan jaga jarak (keep physically distanced).
Jaga diri, jaga keluarga. (Take care of yourselves, take care of your family)”
Our condolences to her family and loved ones – as well as the families of those who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic – in these trying times.
*Cover image credits: Maira's Facebook