Yesterday when I attended Sofie’s funeral at her sister’s house, a few relatives looked like they were trying to be friendly with me. The first was Sofie’s sister, the one Sofie stayed with the first time this case was referred to me. Then there was Sofie’s sister-in-law (the ex-husband’s sister) who had earlier on tried to get me to arrange for all sorts of assistance for her, like the ones Sofie had been getting from us Buddies. I avoided them. I decided to leave early (after making sure whatever necessary had already been arranged for) and told Sofie’s sister, Rozi, the children’s new guardian, that I’d come again today to discuss further on the children’s well-being.
So today after calling Rozi to make sure the coast was clear for me to come and discuss matters, I made my way to her house. According to Rozi, only her eldest brother & wife were around, and it was okay to discuss matters with them around.
All of Sofie’s children were at home with the exception of Azman, the second son studying at the culinary school. He went out together with an uncle to look for some necessities.
Not long after I arrived, it rained real heavy. And so I got stuck at Rozi’s house for over an hour. And with more than an hour spent there, naturally many matters were discussed… including what transpired during Sofie’s funeral yesterday.
At the hospital earlier yesterday when there were only Rozi and myself to arrange the necessary, we did voice out our concern that their older sister (the one who had spread the story about Sofie’s HIV at her kampong) may be telling people the same thing during Sofie’s funeral. Indeed, at the Tanah Perkuburan, when Sofie’s body was about to be lowered down into the grave, a cousin asked Rozi, “Ye ke dia ada HIV?” Apparently the sister had been whispering to relatives about it. But then again, the cousin should have better judgment than to ask the question there? Couldn’t she wait till later?
It was also at the Tanah Perkuburan, the older sister was trying to coax Saiful and Ika to stay with her (she knows very well the kids are getting financial assistance through us Buddies). She told them that their aunt Rozi wasn’t to be trusted and that she only acts nice in front of them but a different person altogether behind them. Gosh, ini macam punya orang pun ada ka??
To me it’s simple. Sofie wouldn’t want her children to be taken care by unreliable people. It had always been Rozi she trusted most, in fact Rozi had always been there whenever Sofie was ill. When she was staying in another state, the moment she heard Sofie was ill, sometimes she’d come all the way alone on her motorbike. And to me it was obvious Sofie’s children are more comfortable with their aunt Rozi than with anybody else. If the others think I’d release the children’s financial assistance through them, sorry… no way! During her final days, Sofie clearly asked Rozi and not anybody else, to please take care of her children come what may.
It’s obvious who Sofie wanted her children to be with, no question about it. And from what I can see, I fully understand Sofie’s decision.
Anyway, Rozi had taken unpaid leave for the whole week to settle matters. She’d need to go to Ika’s & Saiful’s schools to arrange to transfer them to schools nearer to her place. She also needs to settle matters like Sofie’s welfare aid. Sofie had been getting the Bantuan Kanak-kanak. I suggested to Rozi to try and apply for the Bantuan Anak Pelihara since she is now taking care of the children. At least it can help lessen her burden.
Sofie’s eldest son, Azlan, had been taking unpaid leave (he’s taking up 2 temporary jobs while waiting for the results of his application to further his studies in automotive courses) ever since Sofie was transferred to the ICU earlier. When I asked him today, he said he will probably take leave until the end of the month. Only problem is, his job is at the town where they used to stay. The children now have moved in to stay with Rozi. If Azlan continues to work at the old place, he will need a place to stay, which means he may still need to stay at the same house they had been renting. Another option is for Azlan to find a temporary job nearer to the aunt’s place so they could just stop renting the old house altogether. If such is the case, Rozi will need to arrange for a lorry to transport all their stuff there to her house.
As for Azman, the one in the culinary school, I hope he will perform well and complete his course by the end of the year. I am relieved that Rozi will be the new guardian as I know Azman listens more to Rozi than he used to listen to his own mother.
For Ika and Saiful, we (Rozi and myself) will need to keep reminding them about the importance of education for their own future. Looks like I will continue to take them shopping for their schooling needs at the end of the year and give them the needed encouragement to do well in their studies.
The client I’ve been assigned to may no longer be around, but I will continue to monitor this family, at least until I can be sure they can be independent enough.