Some of us work hard to save up for our nesting egg, our retirement. Some choose to work abroad, where hopefully salaries are better so one can save more for the future.
But what if you never really do reach your retirement? What if your time runs out before that?
A few days ago, H called to me tell me that F’s husband was in the hospital. He was in coma. He had just undergone a heart operation and he slipped into a coma after the operation. And yesterday H called to to say that F’s husband passed away the day before. H herself was in a fix, her husband is away on a business trip and her younger daughter has just been admitted in hospital for high fever.
H and F have two things in common, alone in a foreign land, without their husband, facing uncertainty. Of course for H, it’s a temporary thing. He will come back from his business trip.
But what about for F? What happens now? She and her husband are from two different countries. He’s an Egypt|an while she is a Morroc@n with a Swed|sh passport. Last I talked to her was before the summer holidays. She had invited us ladies from the cooking class to her house for lunch. She served us cous-cous with lamb and lots of other things. She told us that she and her husband was building a house near the coast in Egypt somewhere. Her husband will work here for a few more years to pay off that house.
Her story is not different for many of us here. We came here to save up for that dream retirement house that we would otherwise may not afford if we stayed where we were.
But what happens if we don’t reach till retirement? What happens if things don’t go as plan?
In this case what do you do as a wife, a woman, in a foreign land, without the help and support of your family, having to face the death of your loved one? Who helps you make the arrangements? Where do you choose to return? Where do you go from here?
I had to ask myself, if ever, nauzubillah, I was in F’s shoes. What do I do? Where do I go?
Of course many times I have been asked, where is home for me? And honestly I cannot give you an answer. Home is where me and my beloved live, so right now home is here where we are. We did set up home in UK but now we have no ties there. No paper to say that we can live there permanently. So I can’t say I can call UK home.
Then there is my birth country of course. Where the rest of my family is. But since my mum has passed on, aside from my immediate family, I no longer feel strong attachment to that place. True it’s the place I grew up as a child, but every time I returned, its so different. Many things changed and I am no longer able to recognize the place. And the mindset of the people is somewhat different from what I have became. The never ending kiasuness and the fast paced rat race is just too much for me.
Of course there is KL, but if without my beloved, I don’t have real ties to the place. Yes I do have friends there but it might even be too painful to stay there, at close proximity to his family.
I pray that I will never be tested the same way. Because I would have to start on a clean slate.
A friend once told me that I think too much. I give too much thought and plan for things in the future that most people don’t even think about. Or at least she didn’t.
But I have been caught off guard once. Having a parent passing on at the age of 49, before she could have a taste of her retirement, made me assess some things in my life. And my only way to deal with that is to devise my own contingency plans. So that I know, if this ever happens to me (God forbid), I have given some thought to it, and have an idea what I want to do about it.
Not that life always go the way you plan it. Judging from my own past experience, it never really does.
Once again in my life, I feel displaced.
Please sedekah Al-Fatehah for F’s husband.