A different Aidilfitri celebration for senior citizens at care centre

29 Apr 2022 12:52am
Aiman spent his free time reciting the Quran and zikir.
Aiman spent his free time reciting the Quran and zikir.

SHAH ALAM - Only several days left for Malaysian Muslims to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri in a more lively atmosphere after two years of restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some of us are already in our hometown, while some were getting ready to celebrate Eid with our beloved families.

However, not everyone welcomed the festive season with joy, but for people who are separated from their families or left in nursing homes, Aidilfitri was greeted with a heavy heart instead.

For those who lost their husband, wife or children, Aidilfitri brought back the bittersweet memory of how they used to celebrate the joyous occasion.

Sinar Harian reporters approached Zakat Selangor’s Bait Al Mawaddah Elderly Care Centre occupants to understand their feelings in conjunction with the upcoming Aidilfitri.

One of the occupants who only wanted to be known as Aiman, 60, told us how he missed his daughter, whom he had not met or heard of for the past three years.

The retired army said everything changed when he was hit by a stroke, which affected half of his body.

He said that was when his wife left him, taking their daughter with her. Since he was incapable of taking care of his two sons, he was left with no choice but to enrol them in a nearby tahfiz centre under Zakat Selangor’s purview.

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“I don’t know where my daughter is now, and I miss her so much. My two other sons are in tahfiz. The last time I saw them was when I was sent here.

“I can’t even manage myself, I have to rely on others. I accept my destiny, but I really hope to celebrate Aidilfitri with my children,” he said.

Bait Al-Mawaddah Senior Citizen Care Centre Head Siti Norkhayati Rabani said efforts were being made to ensure that Aiman ​​can celebrate Aidilfitri this year with his two sons.

“We are trying our best to manage their schedules so that they can meet during Aidilfitri,” she said.

Meanwhile, another occupant known as Sharifah, 60, said her son who was studying in Ipoh had financial constraints hence they were not able to celebrate the festival together like they usually did.

“Since my relationship status is left hanging, I never intended to trouble my siblings hence I raised my kids by working in a factory. However, I had to stop due to health problems,” she said.

Sharifah added since entering the care centre in October 2021, she had not met her son due to financial constraints.

In Marang, 64-year-old Norazian Mohamad accepted her fate of not being able to enjoy the excitement of welcoming Aidilfitri with her children and grandchildren.

Living without the love of children was not easy but that was what she had to go through after handing over her three biological children to adoptive families.

Norazian said she had to do so due to constraints after her husband succumbed to cancer when the youngest child was just a month old.

Now, her children are in their 20s and 40s.

“Maybe my children could not accept me for the things they had to go through, but I respect their decision wholeheartedly. They were still kids back then and would not have understood my difficulties.

“They live with three different families. One of them studied in Egypt, and I am proud and happy because if he had stayed with me, he would not necessarily get anywhere because life is hard and I don’t have the money,” she said.

Norazian who had stayed at the elderly care centre for the past three years said she was now tested with health problems when two of her toes had to be amputated due to diabetes.

However, she was happy to live her life and welcome Aidilfitri with friends and caretakers who served them well, but deep in the corner of her heart, Norazian hoped that her children would visit her at the centre.