Leen and Fared (not their real names) were a couple who got married fresh out of university. It would’ve been their 15th wedding anniversary this year, if it wasn’t for Fared’s sudden passing on the 5th day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri due to a sudden heart attack.
He was healthy, athletic – everything happened so abruptly that Leen was left on her own to deal with the aftermath of his sudden passing. This is their story, told from Leen’s perspective:
It Was Our Last Hari Raya Together
We had just returned from performing the Umrah (minor pilgrimage to Mecca), and things were going very well in our lives.
Everything was on track, we had plans – both professional and personal – for the future, and we were both mightily excited and eager to carry them out.
We were celebrating Hari Raya happily until that fateful day. If only I had known it would be our last Hari Raya together, I’d have done a few things differently.
For one, I would’ve kissed and hugged Fared as though it would be our last time together.
It was on our way back from KL to Melaka when he began complaining of breathing difficulties.We stopped by the R&R, where his symptoms progressed to stomach ache and chest pains.
I thought it was just indigestion over having too much food during the open house, as you’d normally have every festive season. But I quickly drove him to the nearest hospital when his condition became worse, up to a point where he almost fainted.
My Husband Suffered A Mild Heart Attack
He was rushed to the Emergency Room. Upon being seen by the doctors, I was informed that Fared had just suffered a mild heart attack. I was shocked!
But there’s no way that he’d have a heart attack! He’s one of the healthiest guys I know! I thought to myself.
The doctors told me to get some rest at home first, as they’d be closely monitoring his condition. Fared was conscious at the time and agreed with the doctors’ advice.
“I’ll be alright. Don’t worry,” he said with a faint smile, trying his best to put me at ease.
I went home with a restless heart. I couldn’t rest or sleep – all I wanted to do was to be by Fared’s side and make sure he was OK.
Later that night, I received a phone call. They told me his condition had deteriorated unexpectedly. I knew I shouldn’t have gone home, I thought, as I made my way to the hospital, accompanied by my mother.
But in the rush to the hospital, I got caught in a minor accident with a motorcyclist!
The Kindness Of A Stranger
Everybody was safe and uninjured, but my car needed to be towed. I was so foolish!
As I sat there on the curb of the road, dazed and confused, my mom pleaded with the motorcyclist to take me to the hospital while she waited for the tow truck to arrive.
I couldn’t think of anything else at the time – Fared was all I could think of.
It just so happened that the motorcyclist had an extra helmet, and bless his soul, he ferried me to the hospital on his motorcycle.
As I hurried anxiously to the ER, I could only manage to share one brief moment with Fared – I looked at him, kissed him gently, and finally told him in a soft voice to recite the Shahada (one of the five Pillars of Islam).
And just like that, I lost the love of my life.
I Set Aside My Grief To Tend To The Legal Matters
Fared was a great man who never once raised his voice at me and was always ready and willing to help others in need. At his funeral, many friends showed up and were more than willing to help with the proceedings.
I was lost without him, but there were still so many legal matters to be handled. I set aside my grief and channeled my energy towards settling them.
There were lots of official documents that I had to obtain, including Fared’s death certificate, house and land grants, the hospital bills, work items, bank accounts, and his savings trust.
Luckily, I received help from his friends who directed me on how to handle everything.
Dread came along with grief. I worried about my financial status, as Fared was the sole breadwinner.
Then came a phone call from one of his friends who happened to work as a financial planner.
What she informed me shocked me to my core.
Little did I know he’d taken out a Hibah Takaful insurance program, a monetary gift for me as he’d wanted to make sure I’d be stable, in the event of his unforeseen demise.
What he had done for me was a God-send. Even when he is no longer here, my dearest Fared still takes care of me.
Recognising The Symptoms Of Heart Attack
Now, I have been reminding my loved ones to go for annual medical check-ups, that it is imperative to learn how to recognise the symptoms of heart attack.
More importantly, I tell my friends about the importance of obtaining comprehensive health insurance – Fared’s hospital fees cost a lot, even when he was warded for a short while.
Luckily, he had his insurance to cover the bills.
Another crucial reminder to all sole breadwinners – your family needs to go on living even when you’re gone. Provide safety nets for them – sign up for life insurance as a gift to your loved ones.
We won’t know when it is time for us to leave the world.
For more stories about dealing with the passing of a loved one, read Losing My 14-Year-Old Sister – And The Ways I Dealt With My Loss and She Went Through 3 Miscarriages, Fell into a Coma, and Watched Her Daughter Die in NICU. Here’s Her Story.