Exactly a week after Shila passed away, today I decided to pay her family a visit. Her daughter Laila is under our education sponsorship programme, and since it wasn’t the right time to discuss the matter during Shila’s funeral last week, I figured today would be the right time to pay them a visit. Besides, Shila’s main buddy was overseas last week and was not able to attend her funeral, and so when I asked if she’d like to join me for the visit, she immediately agreed.
Before I left the house last week, I told Shila’s mother and sis-in-law to make sure Shila’s handphone is kept on to make it easier for me to contact them. I had promised Shila’s mother that we’d still continue to help out with Laila’s schooling needs. So yesterday when I sent a text message to Shila’s number, saying I’d be coming to visit today, her SIL replied using her own number. I guess Shila’s number ran out of credit to reply my message.
We got to the house at about 11 am as promised. Initially we only saw Shila’s sisters-in-law and the small children. After a while Laila came out with her grandma. The girl looked okay, I think for the moment she is coping quite well without her mother. According to the grandma, the girl’s paternal family did come and visit last week during the funeral, although they were a bit late as they came all the way from another state. Apparently Laila’s paternal grandma did offer to take care of Laila but that would mean a total change of environment for Laila as not only would she have to move to another state, she’d have to change school and she’d be staying with people she’s not quite used to. That girl would probably miss her mother even more!
At least if she continues to stay with her maternal grandma, the only thing she’d have to adjust to is to live without her mother by her side. So the maternal grandma just told the other grandma that they could come take the girl during school holidays. They would have to come and fetch her though…
Anyway, all the while, the monthly pocket money for Laila under the sponsorship programme goes direct into Laila’s own bank account. So we don’t have to worry about changing the standing instructions to the bank. Today we just wanted to make it clear to Laila’s grandma that anything to do with the girl’s schooling needs is covered by the funds, but they’d have to tell us if there are any expenses needed out of the ordinary because we wouldn’t know unless we’re told.
I asked how Laila goes to school. I know previously Shila herself used to send her daughter to school on a motorbike. However according to the grandma, ever since Shila became unwell of late, she sought the help of a relative to send Laila to school. The relative isn’t so well-to-do either, so she gives RM30 per month to the relative to send the girl to school and fetch her after school. Looks like beginning this month I will have to add another RM30 to the bank’s monthly standing instructions to cover for transport.
When Shila was alive, she used to get a financial aid of RM250 per month from Baitulmal. The amount went into her bank account every month. Hopefully Baitulmal will now consider giving the aid for Laila instead, under the grandma’s name. The grandma has yet to go to the Baitulmal office, according to her she plans to go this coming week. Hopefully her plea will be considered. But that, even if approved, may take some time to be processed. They need money, especially with Raya coming soon.
Before we left, I passed an envelope containing some cash to the grandma. The money had been donated by my friends who banked in the amount into my account, meant to cover for Laila’s needs. I think the grandma didn’t expect to get the cash – she seemed quite surprised. Earlier on I only mentioned about wanting to discuss Laila’s schooling needs, nothing else. The amount should be enough to cover their Raya expenses. My colleague then mentioned to Laila about our Family Day and that she’s welcomed to join us for our future Family Day events. Laila had always looked forward to our Family Day when she gets to enjoy herself. At this point, I could see tears dwelling in the grandma’s eyes.
“Memang dia seronok sangat yang pergi hari tu,” said the grandma. That was probably the last time Shila and Laila had their photo taken together. I passed them the photo when I brought the two for makan-makan in Ipoh about a month ago. I bet Laila will treasure that photo forever…