After visiting Sofie’s children on Monday, it occurred to me that a few of my other clients do know Sofie, and one in particular, Fuzi, had been keeping in touch with Sofie ever since the last Family Day at The Roots last year. Fuzi and her children even went to visit Sofie’s home for Raya. There were a few others who knew Sofie, but I figured Fuzi needed to know first before she decides to call or visit Sofie only to find out that Sofie had passed on for some time.
So on Tuesday I called Fuzi.
“Ada apa kak?”
“Ni nak bagitau, *Sofie* dah meninggal Ahad baru ni.”
“HAA?? UDAH MENINGGAL???!! Baru berapa hari sudah saya talipon dia.”
“Berapa hari sudah? Masa dia kat hospital ke?”
“Tak, dia kata dia di rumah kakaknya.”
Fuzi’s “berapa hari sudah” must have been more than 2 weeks earlier. Sofie had been warded ever since her appointment date at the beginning of the month, right to the day she died.
Just as I had anticipated, Fuzi began worrying. “Lepas sorang, sorang pergi. Saya ni bila pulak agaknya.”
Last year she got a surprise when she found out about Shila’s death not long after our Family Day. Now, it’s Sofie’s turn. I know Fuzi worries, because she’s hoping that her time will only come after at least her eldest daughter starts working. The girl is in form five this year, and doing quite well in her studies. Her younger siblings don’t seem to perform that well and so Fuzi relies a lot on her eldest daughter to take care of the younger ones when she’s gone.
I have yet to tell Aini about Sofie. Although she knows Sofie, unlike Fuzi, Aini doesn’t call or visit Sofie (or any other PLHIVs for that matter). Aini’s eldest daughter knows Sofie’s 2 older sons, Azlan and Azman, as they went together for a youth camp some time last year.
Then there’s Wani, who stays in the same town where Sofie & her children stayed (before Sofie moved to her sister’s house recently). In fact they sometimes meet at the pasar malam.
Whatever it is, life goes on for those still living. I hope they don’t start getting depressed when they hear about the death of a fellow PLHIV. They must bear in mind that although they are in the same boat (being HIV+), each of their condition differs. Shila for example, had heart problems, while Sofie’s condition was already bad by the time she was diagnosed HIV+ 4 years ago.
Fuzi and Wani on the other hand, are still considerably healthy despite their HIV. Of course, we don’t necessarily have to be ill to die. When our time is up, our time is up. Not a second sooner, not a second later. It could even be my turn next. Only God knows…