On July 3, 08.27 am, Jakarta time, my father passed away. During the time of grief, I had been shedding no tears. My initial reaction upon receiving the news was a relief that he had been given a chance to rest eternally in peace. I prepared myself in no rush to join the rest of my family in the funeral house to start a four-nights period of wake.
That Saturday morning was almost as another day to me - I took time for shower, made my own simple breakfast consisting of whole wheat bread with apricot and boysenberry jam, had my vegetable and fruit juice, then ran to the closest Starbucks to get my first cup of the day.
All the time that morning, I couldn't stop questioning myself why did I not feel any natural grief. I have never been, and never will be the kind of guy who preserves my emotions - I dare to shout in anger, to display my affection in a crowded shopping mall, and to shed my tears in public. But that morning, there was this serene feeling of peace.
Yes, I questioned why my father was taken after the successful heart surgery. Yes, I questioned why did my family had to see him suffering for almost three weeks in the hospital after the heart attack. Yes, I also questioned why death, at least for my father, couldn't be more effortless, simple, and less painful.
But I let the questions unanswered. There was no point in finding all the "why"s. This should be the best for me and my family, and somehow we actually deserve it.
I arrived at the funeral house when the body of my father was about to get the formalin treatment. I dared myself to witness the process, and saw the naked body of my deceased father being stuffed gently and efficiently by a doctor. It was around 2 pm, and I was there with my elder brother. We were in complete silence throughout the process. A subtle smell invaded our nose, but we ignored it.
Next, three nurses cleansed my father's body. We went to another room, and witnessed the whole process. My brother and I took a little part in showering our deceased father with running water, and scrubbed him gently with the soap, then pour some alcohol to relax his already stiffed muscles.
The process was continued with dressing our father. The three nurses put on the underwear, shirt, trousers, and jacket. My brother helped putting a pair of socks and brand new shoes on father's feet. I got what I personally think the most honorable part: to knot a tie around my father's neck. A nice Double Windsor with a perfect triangle knot was my chosen style for him.
Throughout the process, I prepared myself for a sudden burst of emotion. But, I was never been more peaceful. Along the process, there were two lines that kept repeating inside me; "When it's time, it's time," and, "I now have two fathers in Heaven." **
My father had completed his journey, and I believe that it is also part of the completion of my own journey.
Christian faith believes that when we die, we will go the Heaven, and one day all of us will be reunited there, in the Kingdom of God. When I recalled this during the wake of my father's passing, I wonder what made me believe in such "fairy tale"? But, now I understand, that the day when we all are reunited in the Kingdom of God is not the day we all die.
What is the Kingdom of God? It's "righteousness, peace, and joy (in the Holy Ghost)". When we are righteous, we will be at peace with our own conscience, and we will receive the joy. The day we experience the Kingdom of God is the day we all are united as one - dead, or alive on Earth.
On the late afternoon of Saturday, July 3, 2010, my father's body was already dressed up completely. At the same time, I aligned myself with the completion of his journey in God's plan. That way, he was, and is, and will always be my father. That way, I could see myself having two fathers in Heaven.
** The main concept of Christianity is to call God as our Father. This is the luxury one could only obtain by believing in Jesus, and living in the Holy Spirit.