Wednesday, May 03, 2017

The First of May

It is the First of May, a long weekend all over the world where the labor force of humanity comes to observe a holiday in tribute to Labor Day. Also known as the International Worker's Day in some countries or May Day in others, for me it has a different meaning this date, the First of May.  On the First of may in 1981 I had returned from the United States to Malaysia for a short visit after being away for many years. I was having dinner at one of my auntie's home when a stranger came to the door and told me that my uncle had collapsed at the junction to the main road while on his way home. He had parked the van he was driving by the roadside and climbed out holding his chest and collapsed on to the road. Passersby had helped to lift his body back into the back of the van and that I should do something about it.
I left for the site with the stranger on his motorcycle and found my uncle already dead in the back of his van. With some difficulty i drove the van back to his house, I had not driven in Malaysia for many years since I was living in the United States and there they drive on the wrong side of the road as far Malaysians goes. Getting used to it take some doing especially when you are transporting the deceased body of the man who have adopted and raised me as his child for twelve years of my life. I carried his body into the house where his wife and I set about cleaning him up as he had defecated himself while suffering the heart attack he had earlier. I did all these as though I was on auto mode, or like I was in the twilight zone not much feeling but totally absorbed in action. I knew somehow that I could not allow my emotions take a hold of myself as the task of getting my uncle's funeral squared away laid on my shoulders then being the eldest in the family even if I was just and adopted kid.
So, whenever the First of May comes around this sad episode keeps surfacing in my mind given the fact that no one from my family came to pay their last respect to the deceased who was my mother's younger brother and the man who raised me when my own family could not afford to do it. There is little sense in looking back on how or why about my own brothers and sisters without knowing the facts of life, that they too had suffered untold emotional pains and at the hands of my uncle. Hence I will bury this episode of my life as one of those non-recycle materials that is best buried for good with the deceased.
 " and guess who will cry comes First of May...." from the song by the Bee Gees, The First of May.

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