Dear Auni,

Congratulations on being 22.

One day we will die. One day I will die. 
And what is left then, is my stories. 

But today, you are alive. 

I wanted to write something this day, but I do not know where to start. Too much things burdening my heart, I needed only one phone call. To Mama. 
Calling her and just tell, tell everything that have been bugging my mind for months long. I wanted her to know how things in my life didn't get any easier, and I wanted one last assurance that she would pray for me no matter what, so I could feel calm and relieved. 

For once, I just wanted to feel right again. 

When I told my friends that throwing birthday party isn't really a thing we usually do in my family, I actually doubted that. Because as far as I can remember, I did have my own birthday party when I was a kid. Mama would invite some of her friends coming to our house, and also my neighbourhood friends that would join along. Meanwhile, I would be that little anxious kid waiting for Bah coming from work, bringing cake Mama promised me beforehand. To me that time, while there are friends to impress... it's important to have cake. As cake means celebration.

What year was that? I could not recall.
But surely that time was a good old time. That I got to celebrate with just all everyone that I love. And nothing more important that time... than to have one good cake. Receiving just bunches of gifts, real hugs and warm wishes.

And most important, Mama was there.

Looking back 10 years ago when I was just twelve years old, I had nothing else to aim for in this life but to make Ma and Bah proud of me. Even I could still remember when I rushed home from school riding a bicycle, with the fastest speed I could go... all the way to tell them that I got all As in exam.

I thought at that time, how life is exciting when we got to achieve our targets and goals.

I continued my will to aim higher then, just to get passed all exams with nothing less than all As. How important the wisdom I learnt at that age, defining happiness as success and only it.

But well, I made it.

Allah granted whatever I want, I pursue everything accordingly in my plans. There were ups and downs along the way of course, but they were all just a learning curve to get me tougher.

All my life, I have been relying to a mother's Dua' while feeling right about everything. I would call her just every time when I was about to enter some battles. Either it's an exam, or simply an interview for scholarship. I made it in the support  of Mom's love. Allah accepted all my Dua's and granted me safety from anything with the assurance that Mom's love indeed has a special treat from Him. All my life I have felt secured and at ease. And, having heavy heart is nothing usual.

But now, it's completely different. As the battle is more real now. This is it, my real battle.
 Though it felt as I have lost the weapon. Of a mother's prayers.
 and the question that bugs my mind every night, do I still have home to return to...

What is left for me, then.

If this is the real test of life, how do I go through one more day when there is no single night since Mama left, have I slept without teary eyes and wake up to another day without heavy heart? In fact, enduring heavy heart has becoming common feelings, I forgot how was it to feel whole again.

By this time, I must have forgot of all good bondings that shall make me look forward for one more to-morrow. Also, on that day of how this one soul has said to me calmly,

"This is just a nightmare you can always wake up to, Auni. Always, count the blessings." 

Indeed without tears left, I am blessed with good souls around me, that expected me of nothing in return. All they have been doing is feeling the empty gap, and be there as much as they can. How awful I could be as a person to take that blessing for granted. . .

So Thank You, to you know who you are.

There are many things have happened along this year, most are all big things that I did not expect. From such big thing as my country's political change of government leads... to something as big as I am now living my dream... to also, of the day I learnt on acceptance. . . of Mama's leaving.

It hit me since, while I am not sure of the day I would stop grieving. I probably would not.
and, I hope that's fine, I'm coping with it through.

The age of 21 has taken me to such different whole new level in understanding life. I could have taken pride in saying "achievement unlocked", considering all the important events I encountered at this young age. Though for real, I didn't had chance to be prepared and be ready for any of these obstacles and achievements I experience. But I am, facing it (one by one, and after another) anyway. With an open heart... with the remembrance that all of these happened for a reason.

Nothing, with the faith in God, and with Tawakkul that all things are in His control, happened for the reason unexplained. Therefore I will stay, however, to live.

And most important, I have learnt better about myself day by day.
About things I haven't figured out before; of my capabilities and hidden talents, of my strength and imperfections. Of my brokenness and vulnerability. Just all that made me realise how complicated being I am just full with paradox; however, also in the same soul is a confident and strong woman.
I am taught to be this fearless... who is not afraid of being herself.

For the beloved friends, Thank you for being the best of you every time. I owe you a lot I couldn't pay with coins and dollars, and all the concern you showed me I rest to Allah in repaying each of you... with nothing but goodness in this life. Indeed, may Allah bless.

Thank you.

I haven't said this, yet all of you have truly made my day. 
Dearest my girls (S, T, F and Y),

Thank you Y, for the hot chocolate you made on the day I temporarily left back for Malaysia. I swear, it was more than just a hot chocolate you handed to me. The gesture that reminded me so much of Mama throughout last Ramadhan, because my heavy sleeper ass couldn't wake up for Sahur and that she handed me cup of a drink to make sure I actually had a proper Sahur... on bed.

Thank you for the abaya and the baju kurung you packed me for tahlil night, the bath robe to be used at nenek's because the towel I had could just be less travel-friendly, for packing up my things when I couldn't think straight on what to pack, the passion fruit tea you made (the tea was really soothing), and just all of your help and thoughtfulness... S.

To F, that was there all the time. It means so much, of your presence that I shouldn't ever taking that for granted.

And that one night's conversation, T. . . that you were there by only listening to my loneliness rants and tried not saying anything because you took me serious when I said I might just need a listener that do not have to say anything.
I guess I lied that time as I was being too defensive towards that particular guy, most probably that I was just protecting him. In fact, I needed a true listener; ones that do more than just listening. And you have been listening to me well enough, of all this while.

After all, each of you, are the best.

And the celebration uguys threw last night was a blast one, it was indeed one of those nights I don't want to forget. I felt blessed.
Meanwhile the boys . . . from the deepest of my heart, Thank You x 3

Therefore, this is it.
I am Auni.
This is 2018, and I am moving forward.