"FAREWELL, MAMA YANTI (1953 - 2018) in "THE WORDPLAY WARRIOR: The Plot Pieces Called 'Life' "

  • Sept. 14, 2018, 11:18 p.m.
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My mother told me this dream of hers. She said Uncle Herli had shown up to talk to her one night.

“I miss you guys,” he said. “Next time, bring my wife over. Stop hanging out at the mall all the time. I wanna join you guys too.”

Ma always takes such dreams seriously. It wasn’t her first time to dream something like that. My late Uncle Herli had passed away some years before. That’s why Ma had a strong feeling regarding that dream.

I don’t remember how it all started. In Ma’s family, we address her siblings with the same titles plus their names after that. Uncles are called ‘Papa’ (although it actually means ‘Dad’) and aunts are called ‘Mama’ (which, obviously, means ‘Mom’.)

That’s how I got Mama Yanti for this aunt of mine. She was the kind of woman many would’ve loved. Sweet, quiet, and loyal, her heart had mostly been for her family. She was also soft-spoken and always happiest when all her relatives gathered to liven up her house in Bandung back then.

One funny moment I’d always remember was when I used to joke about taking the cold water from Bandung back to Jakarta. Mama Yanti would always laugh and tell me that by the time the water reached Jakarta, it would not be cold anymore. Probably that was the good old magic of Bandung.

I never doubted her love for her only son, my cousin Adhitya. She’d just never had a daughter of her own, so that was why she was always happy to see my sister and me – and our other female cousins.

As cliche as this sounds, time flies. It always does before our eyes. The Soelaeman Grandkids grew up and started their own lives. Some focus on university studies, jobs, careers, and even social lives. Some got married and have kids. Such is life.

Before we knew it, our parents have grown older. So did Mama Yanti. Ailment had started dimming her spirit, although she was still a survivor. Hospital trips and stays had become more mandatory.

We always believe that we still have more time. I’d visit you tomorrow. Let’s catch up. I’ll always be here. There’s still so much more to say…

…so little time in the end…

Last Tuesday, we had our bus trip to Tasikmalaya and back. Years ago, we had buried Uncle Herli at the same place. I suppose Ma was right about the dream. He’d missed having us around. He’d missed his wife, his soulmate.

Sleep well now, Mama Yanti. Hopefully, you suffer no more pain. May one day we all be reunited again. Aameen.


(In the memory of Miranti binti Soelaeman Soekardi (June 8, 1953 – September 10, 2018). A sister, a mother, an aunt, and a grandmother.)

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