Auf Wiedersehen, Papa! XO


I miss the scent of your Chanel perfume!

19th August 2016
I told my mom that I can’t make it to the hospital cause I need to submit my final project by the next day, but then I felt like I really want to meet papa (my dad) so I decided to go the hospital anyway. Thank God I just arrived right on the perfect time –during the visit hours- so I went straight to the ICU and met papa. He can’t really talk at that moment because it was quite hard for him to breathe. But he was moving his hands –meaning that he wants us to hold his hand- so I just grabbed his left hand with my left hand. It was cold (cause the ICU room is always cold), so I kept on holding his hand. 

I was there for about an hour when the doctor and nurse asked us –my mom, brother, sister-in-law and I- to go out because it was already passed the visit hour. The last gesture that I saw was like papa kind of swinging his right hand back and forth (we thought he wanted to pass urine so we called the nurse), and we off soon after that. My mom and I was off to have dinner at the hospital canteen and back right away to the ICU waiting room where my brother and cousin were. My mom then ask me to go home –since it was already late and I need to wake up early the next morning to submit my final project. So I went straight home while my mom, big bro and cousin stayed at the hospital. 

I cried for no apparent reason when I was on my way home, and kept on crying when I reached my bed. I cried and cried, somehow felt scared to lose my dad. And there was this voice, which I believe that it was Jesus, saying “He’s very much alive. I’m with him!”, and I just suddenly stopped crying a snap. I then felt sleepy and just before I went to sleep, I turned on my family group’s notification on WhatsApp –which I didn’t even know why. 

I was awaken by the sound of my phone around midnight. My brother, who was stayed at the hospital that night, told us that my dad’s condition was not that well that the doctor decided that he’ll go under the knife immediately. My sister in Singapore was awake, and my other brother in Kupang was also still awake so we just prayed. The surgery went well. 

20th August 2016
My brother told us that my dad’s condition is getting worse and they are doing the CPR. He asked us keep on praying but also prepare for the worst. 

Big Bro1           : Papa is GONE

Sister               : Jesus is good!

Big Bro 2          : Jesus is good!

Me                   : What do you mean?

My brother just called me, Told me that papa is really gone and asked me to go the hospital with my sister-in-law. For seconds I felt like flying, My hands were ice cold, my heart beating so fast and I couldn’t breathe.. I realized that my papa is gone. I hugged the pillow and I cried…so, so loud. It was more like screaming than crying. I cried my eyes out. 

We arrived at the hospital around 01.00AM, and I went straight to the ICU. My bro was busy handling things, I saw my mom was in front of the ICU desk. My cousin was also there with some of our relatives. I approached my mom and she hugged me..and we both cried. My dad’s body was still exactly at the ICU room when I left the night before. It’s just his body was already covered with white cloth. I stepped in, but I can’t help it that I just stood at the end of the bed..and started crying. I stood there and I cried, and cried, and cried for hours. 

After finishing all the hospital administration at around 4am, we brought my dad’s body to a funeral place to put on the clothes, get the coffin and all the things needed. I was with my mom in the ambulance..and Surabaya was so quiet. It was too quiet that I pinched myself many times to make sure whether it’s real or not. We were kinda busy cause we had to catch our flight at 11am that day. So we went back home, packed our stuff and went straight to the airport. I still felt everything was so unreal. 

During the flight, I can't help myself from thinking about so many questions: why now? why can't wait till I face my thesis defense next month? or my graduation? or my wedding? why him? why the one who means the world to me?

My mom and first big bro at Eltari Airport, Kupang
Me and my second big bro at Eltari Airport, Kupang

When we arrived in my hometown, Kupang…there were A LOT of people there: family, relatives, friends, colleagues, etc. They were with us from the airport all the way to my house.

Family, relatives, friends and colleagues are on the way from airport to my house
Family, relatives, friends and colleagues are on the way from airport to my house

I didn’t see my dad’s body, even after they opened the coffin at my house. I got to see his body later that night. It felt….I don’t know how to describe the feeling when you see the man you love the most laying in a coffin. It was so hurt that I went numb. I just stood there, and tons of memories just flashed through my mind: quality times, holidays, laughter, phone calls, texts…and tons of other memories of us. I felt like I lost all the air in my lungs.
Papa's Coffin

I didn’t really sleep the night before the funeral service. I just sat and chatted around the coffin with my two cousins till the dawn. I fell asleep on the sofa next to the coffin. My mom woke me up 3 hours later since we had to get ready for the funeral service. I knew that it was the final day to really say goodbye to papa that I didn’t feel like doing anything. The funeral service started at 10am, and we got to deliver our eulogy about papa. Each one of us: Mama, Sister, first big bro, second big bro, and I in front of hundreds of people who attend the service.

Mama's delivery her eulogy about Papa for 36 years of marriage

Delivering the eulogy

The most emotional part was when they were about to close the coffin. I knew that that’d be the very last time I see him for the rest of my life. My family didn’t really have the tradition of touching the corpse, but somehow I put my right hand on my papa’s hands and I was kind of talk to my heart. I was like
Papa, thank you so much every single thing that you has done for me. Thank you for working so hard for me. Thank you for being so patient with me, for always be there for me. Thank you for loving me. You’re the best dad anyone could ever ask for. Papa…I can’t bear the pain of saying goodbye to you. Thank you, papa. I love you. Until we meet again in heaven.”, and they closed the coffin just seconds after that. 

My niece, Rebecca was crying out loud and shouting, "OPAAA. I want to play with Opa! I can't play with Opa anymore!"

After closing the coffin

Carrying the coffin out of the house
Some procession of the official ceremony

I wish I could freeze everything at that moment, but well….I wish! There were another ceremonies at my dad’s office –since he was a former president of a university, and was still a lecturer at that moment- so they held this official ceremonies for him. There was another service –graveside service- and then they lowered the coffin into the ground. That was it. I was on “numb mode” that I felt like flying. 

The students of the university stand at the roadside to pay respect to Papa
The Professors pay respect to Papa
The Professors pay respect to Papa

Graveside Service
Two days after the funeral, my mom, sister and I went to my dad’s office to take his files and all that. Just before I entered the room, my dad’s colleagues approached me and said, “You must be Suzan, Professor’s youngest daughter”. I nodded. One of the colleague then said, “Oh dear. Professor always showed us many pictures of you. He shared many stories about you. Aww you must be his dearest child.”. I couldn’t say anything, and suddenly I can’t breathe. The memories just flashed through my mind. Again. 

I'm so proud to have dad like him. He was always passionate to do his work and always responsible with everything that comes with it. He was really concerned about education that he always encouraged the youngsters to pursue their study and dreams. He cared for those who are less fortunate. He was also..really determined.

I was always by the side of the coffin so I can see and hear how their expression and what they say when they see my dad's body. There was this old man who approached the coffin. He looked inside the coffin, stand still, shook his head, and cried silently. He stepped closer to the coffin, and whispered, "Terima kasih, bapa." ("Thank you, Sir."), bowed and approached me. I was so moved with that. Later I remember that he was the security at my dad's office back when dad was still the president of the university.

The other one was our former house assistant -Ka Femy. She came from a very poor family, and worked our house assistant for years. She then married to my dad's security -Oom Frans (no, not that old man). Both Oom Frans and Ka Femy were crying so hard..and loud. Ka Femy came next to coffin, sobbed and said, "Sir, you've taught us important value in life. You've educated and help us a lot that now we have a better life. I didn't get the chance to pay it back. You haven't meet my daughters..You haven't taught them they way you taught me and my husband. Sir, where can we find another man like you?", and she continued crying. 

From the wake service and funeral service alone I can tell that his life has impacted so many people in this world. Not just that he was a very smart man, but the value and passion that he had was something that impacted others. He didn't life his lives for himself alone. He lived his life to the fullest that he somehow broke the stereotype that Timorese is lazy. He studied hard and was very responsible with everything that he had that he finally be the role model especially in education. There were so many people came to the service, from the Governor to anyone else. They lost someone they look up to. I must say that I'm proud of you, Papa.

I’m so happy that he’s free of pain now, that he can finally rest. I now understood that when Jesus told me that my dad’s very much alive and that He’s with my dad…didn’t mean that papa’d still be alive here on earth. It’s that he’s now alive…with Jesus. He’s with Jesus now..and I couldn’t be happier for that.
Daddy's work trip a.k.a my holiday trip to Lombok

Family Holiday, Amsterday - December 1996

On my graduation day. He was so happy (and proud) that I graduated with honour (Cum Laude).

He was not the most perfect human being..yet he was the best dad anyone could ever ask for. My relationship with him was special -he never even raised his voice on me. He just went silent instead whenever he disagree about something (that was really how he treated me, like only me). He didn’t always express his love for us –his family– with words, but with actions instead. He’d say “I’m proud of you” once, but he’d keep on telling stories about how proud he is, to his colleagues over and over again. He was not the richest man in the world, but he made sure that we didn’t lack of anything important. He was the best sharing mate (my dad, mom and I were always a team), which happen to the best mate to hang out with as well. It's obvious that he was so smart that he became my mentor, personal professor, advisor and lecturer. He made sure that his children can achieve as highest degree as we can. He had been a living example of how to be responsible with life, to walk the talk, to respect others, to help others, to have integrity, to work hard…yet still able to relax and enjoy your life. He left us with strong foundation in life. I couldn’t thank God more that in this very life….He chose to send me into this family..and to have Prof.Dr.Agustinus Benu, MS as my dad. :)

'TIll we meet again, Papa! X

 p.s: I tried my best to keep it as short as I can when describing about how great he was as a dad. 
I could write thousands of pages if I want to describe the details, :p

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