Yesterday, I buried my grandpa

I mean, literally, yesterday, I helped burying my grandpa’s soulless body in to his last worldly house; pouring down the brown soil that endorsed our lives, and our ancestors, since only God knows when, in to the grave.

My grandpa passed away Friday night, and yesterday, we held his funeral.

He’s 81 years old, some of the family member said. So old and sick in the past few months. I visited him a couple of days before when the family said that his health had dropped down badly. I remembered the last time I held his hand, and he smiled at me. I wondered if he still recognizes me. My mom kept telling him that I am his grandson, and he just nodded and smiled.

He’s a good man. Not a perfect guy, but a very decent man; considering the large number of people that come to give the last tribute of Janazah Prayer, and number of people that talked about his merit and his kindness in his life time. My mum told me stories of how kind he was as an in-law, especially in her early marriage time with my dad when we have to share room in grandpa’s house (I was 8 y.o. when we moved out).

It’s a mournful time for our family, especially my dad, who lost a father. My father is the oldest son, but unfortunately he couldn’t help as he’s fighting his illness himself; and my older brother was not in town. So Mum told me to go immediately when we heard the news. I didn’t know exactly the specific rites of a janazah funeral process, so I just came to help my uncles. When I came at the house very late at night, my uncles are still bathing the janazah, and the kafan cloth was already spread out on the living room carpet.

And so, the rites went on ‘til morning. After midnight, right after the first janazah prayers, I went to my grandma to ask permission to go back home, and promised her that I’d get back at the morning with my father, along with the rest of my family. I also told her that if she need help, she can contact me or my Mum, and I’ll stand by.

I didn’t lie. I stood by all night. I couldn’t sleep at all. I gave my own over-thinking brain a little bit of understanding, and let it think of what it wanted to think of. I got a small nap after dawn.

In the morning, my grandpa’s janazah was moved to the Pesantren’s mosque. My grandpa was once the leader of this Pesantren’s islamic organization in the area. All the kids, who supposed to be in the class, got a small break to perform janazah prayers for my grandpa. I hope many of the prayers will be answered, and Allah gives mercy for my grandpa and gives him a beautiful afterlife. Before noon, the janazah was brought to the cemetery, where the grave hole has been dug up.

It was not the first funeral I attend, but it was my first time getting in to a grave hole. I did not plan to do so. My uncle told me to go down and help getting the grave a proper burial. I got a lot of thought when I spread the soil on my grandpa’s body. It went on only for 10-15 minutes.  And after a mournful speech and du’aas, we all went home.


So far, 2019 is a woeful time for my family. Last month, I lost an uncle; my Mum’s brother; due to sickness, leaving my Mum in grief for a couple of days. Then this month, I lost a grandfather, and I had to help burying the janazah.

It made me think deeply about life and death. The scene I depicted earlier could be my own scene when I meet my own death. Just like that, the loved ones mourn, giving tributes of prayers, the body lays deep inside the grave, and swallowed by darkness. Then the living moves on, and no one knows what happen to the janazah, my grandpa. Is he okay? Is he getting a better place? One can only hope and pray. It is scary to think that I’ll be going to a place that no living thing has been able to experience. But I guess, I have to be ready for that. It’s a soothing feeling to believe that I have a God so merciful and loving that tells me not to lose hope on Him. I guess, I have to cling tight to this faith even more.

It also made me think deeply about the people I love, people I care the most. As a man, I have to be ready when their time comes. I’ll be extremely sad and devastated, that’s for sure, but I have to be ready nonetheless. I’m glad that I am yet to fall in a deep love to a wife. In this kind of time, it can be really depressing for me. This experience really made me contemplate about love and attachment to things; and where should I draw the line between the two.

Life and death happens every day, every second. We shed tears and mourns. In other time, we rejoice and celebrate. I guess, I’m seeing life as it is; nothing more or less. It’s neither beautiful nor ugly. It’s neither full of joy nor it’s only sorrow. Neither it’s fair nor unfair. It just runs on. I’m not saying that what we do has no meaning or that our struggle is futile. We change one or two things in life. Some others make a bigger change. But that’s only how life runs.

Love is unnecessary in our survival, yet it is the thing that makes our survival a necessity, a joy to be enjoyed. And when I tried to see beyond the joy, beyond the necessity of the survival, it somehow opens a new room of emptiness I do not recognize.

Deep inside, I feel myself become much colder.


Published byFajrin Yusuf

AsGar, Social Entrepreneur, Hiker, Writing to Kill Time

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