Five days ago, I was saddened by the news of the sudden demise of the wife of a friend.
He was a client of mine when I was working in a bank during the last millenium. Through the years we developed quite a rapport and got to know bits and pieces about each other's personal lives. However the `relationship' (if you may call it that) went into hiatus when I left my employment.
I was delighted to receive an invitation from both him and the wife a couple of years back. Being stranded in an unexpected traffic jam, I was about a half hour late for the appointment and the tea which was prepared for me had gone cold together with the kuih. But the reception I got from the couple was much much warmer than the tea. What surprised me though was the fact that it was not the wife I knew from before. For you late bloomers, in simple words, he had taken a new wife!
Later I got to know that he had married her when her husband passed away, leaving her with 4 young kids.Unable to accept being `honeyed', the first wife with whom he has 3 children , filed and obtained a divorce. During the time we did not keep in touch, he and the new wife had 3 children together.
Now, that makes it 10 children between them, some of whom are his, the rest are hers and theirs. There was a family potrait of them with their ten children, which drew a remark from me, ~Mesti meriah kat rumah ni!' Their joint reply was, `Ya , kalau depa semua ada memang meriah'. As it was, only the younger 4 children were with them as all the rest were either in Jordan, Syria or Egypt studying. Imagine having six children studying the Quran, Usuluddin and Syariah! I said a silent prayer for all of them.
News of her sudden death of a stroke at the age of 41 left me sad. Knowing full well that we belong to God the sadness was not due to her untimely passing but for the 4 children she had with her previous husband.
As I look at my nieces and nephews who came to stay during the CNY break, I can only imagine the helplessness the children may feel.
For his children, they may have lost their mother during the divorce, but she is still around to share their ups and downs. For their children, they still have their father although they have lost their mother. But for her children, they have lost their father early on, experienced their mother re-marrying another, and now losing her and leaving them to stay with their step father.
I pray to GOD that my friend will be blessed with the courage to bring up the children with hikmah and that GOD will pave a way for him to carry such a big burden.
I am reminded of God's words, that we are tried only to the extent of our ability to handle the problems and pray that God will help him along the way.