An Ode to a Hero

29 Apr

“I tried to say goodbye and I choked,

tried to walk away and I stumble..”

-Macy Gray – “I Try”

As I tried to close my eyes and rest, I found that I couldn’t rest before I share a story.  So here it goes, a story about a wonderful heart, a courageous spirit that forever will linger on my mind.

Today, I said goodbye to my childhood nanny.  A simple, humble woman from Krian, a rural area just a little bit outside Surabaya, my hometown.  What I will share is how mischievously deceptive her looks were.  For inside that humble appearance, there lied a hero.  And I kid you not.  My babysitter was a hero in the truest sense of the word.

More than half of my years in Surabaya were marked by hardships.  My father was hit by severe financial difficulties, and he fought high and low just to bring food to the table.  Of course, over time my parents were not able to pay a babysitter to help us when, -in a somewhat cruel, irony twist of fate-, they had to work harder and leave us alone without anyone watching us at home.

This woman, however, is not your usual nanny.  She steadfastly refused to leave us.  She worked without any payment, and sometimes even bought us some meals from her own money.  That is just the beginning, make no mistake.  When we got so broke to the point that we had no roof to stay under, she offered her humble home for us to stay; while constantly treating us like a royalties during our stay.  Can you imagine that?  We stayed at her home, ate from her table, yet still she never allowed us to wash our dishes because in her words, “I remain your servant”.

At another point, when we stayed at a very simple home without any forms of entertainment like TV, she actually asked her husband to stay with us to play Chinese Checkers, -which brings a lot of amusement to our disheartened spirits.  And as if that’s not enough, she made it a point that her husband will take us for a ride in his motorcycle, just to get us to laugh more.

And boy, it didn’t end there.  When some die-hard debt collector started to play hardball with our family, she stood bravely between him and us, -practically daring him to do anything and saying “over my dead body” with her defiant stance.  That lady was not just dedicated, she simply was ready to die for us.  And remember, she did all those things (and millions others) without any pay.

When we had to move to Jakarta, she cried hard like she’s losing her own children.  Faithful spirit as she was, she accompanied us during the journey, and stayed for a couple-of-weeks in Jakarta before finally returning to her hometown.

Without failure, anytime there’s one of our family had some business in Surabaya, she cooked our favorite meals and send it to us here.  And I tell you, never had I thought that a mere dish of “sambal goreng tempe” could taste so divine!!  This dedication, -no strike that, this love continued until her last day on earth.  Even when we weren’t there, she defended us anytime there’s anyone in our hometown said something bad about us.  And did I tell you that her laughter was so full of hilarity, -ever contagious?

—–

So to a true Kartini, I shed a tear.  To someone who taught me what it means to be courageous, I raised my glass.  Mrs. Asih, allow me to give your soul one final embrace.  You won me over long before anyone else did.

If I don’t know anything about afterlife, I would chance a warning here.  A warning to St. Peter himself, no less.  “You better unlock the gate, Sir.  For heaven is gonna be a lot more exciting!!”

Advertisements

10 Responses to “An Ode to a Hero”

  1. WEIGY May 1, 2010 at 9:00 am #

    I came across the article through a friend’s twitter post.

    I’m living and working the States right now, it’s not all that often that I find uplifting articles related to my hometown or the culture I was born into (and miss constantly). Discovering more about your other blogs is also proving to be very fruitful.

    Happy Kartini Day and much respect for such a dedicated companion in life.

  2. WEIGY May 1, 2010 at 9:00 am #

    I came across the article through a friend’s twitter post.

    I’m living and working the States right now, it’s not all that often that I find uplifting articles related to my hometown or the culture I was born into (and miss constantly). Discovering more about your other blogs is also proving to be very fruitful.

    Happy Kartini Day and much respect for such a dedicated companion in life.

  3. unquote May 1, 2010 at 9:15 am #

    Hello, Weigy…

    If chance brought you here, then she has brought me a great honor…

    I look forward to share more thoughts with you 🙂

    Thank you for stopping by..

  4. unquote May 1, 2010 at 9:15 am #

    Hello, Weigy…

    If chance brought you here, then she has brought me a great honor…

    I look forward to share more thoughts with you 🙂

    Thank you for stopping by..

  5. Bitch, The May 11, 2010 at 11:00 am #

    heya there!

    i stumbled upon your blog amidst my tight deadline. and it relieving somehow. kinda give me strength to carry on with my work.

    don’t stop to write. looking forward to more of your entries.

    (=

  6. Bitch, The May 11, 2010 at 11:00 am #

    heya there!

    i stumbled upon your blog amidst my tight deadline. and it relieving somehow. kinda give me strength to carry on with my work.

    don’t stop to write. looking forward to more of your entries.

    (=

  7. Zuber May 24, 2010 at 10:12 pm #

    Moved by the compassion and selfless love. Very hard to find that in modern times.

    Very impressive writing. Keep it up. I am an aspiring Technical Writer and my connection with Indonesia (having visited twice) is of a family. Stumbled upon your blog when searching for Technical writing options in Indonesia.

    Wish you good 🙂

  8. Zuber May 24, 2010 at 10:12 pm #

    Moved by the compassion and selfless love. Very hard to find that in modern times.

    Very impressive writing. Keep it up. I am an aspiring Technical Writer and my connection with Indonesia (having visited twice) is of a family. Stumbled upon your blog when searching for Technical writing options in Indonesia.

    Wish you good 🙂

  9. Matthew Donohue September 18, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    You truly have a gift for the English language and your words were so moving that I felt tears begin to well. A wonderful piece thanks for sharing it 🙂

    • fajarjasmin September 22, 2011 at 8:13 am #

      Matthew, thank you for the kind words.

      A year after she passed away, I still miss her sorely… 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: