In Between Marriage and Funeral

Last week, I heard a bad news about my old friend. Her mom suddenly passed away in the morning when she was about to feed her pet at the back of the house. She died just after she arrived at the hospital. She’s been diagnosed with a heart problem since young and diabetes, but for the past two years her condition was stable. Until last Tuesday morning …

I came to the last service before the funeral. And that was when I met my old friend. We went to the same school since Primary school and became close during high school years. We didn’t really hang out a lot during college years, because we went to different college in different cities.

Before this meeting, I came to her wedding last year.

That fact reminded me of important issues on human relationship: how much I value personal relationship? How much I value face-to-face relationship – over virtual communication? How much time that I’m willing to spend outside wedding and funeral?

In this story, after I attended her wedding, I didn’t manage time to meet my friend directly. Even if we live at the same town, we didn’t really see the importance of catching up. I know her update through Facebook or social media and virtual chatting – and nothing more. She knows of my where being from my update in Facebook as well. I thought it was normal, until the morning when I came for her mother’s funeral service.

I was so overwhelmed with the feeling of loss. I was so closed to her and the entire family. Her mom was the one who drove the car to school – and they picked me up at my house every morning. The memory of closeness and our relationship was too much. And I realized that I haven’t really appreciate everything – until that morning when I saw my friend’s mom for the last time.

I understand that I couldn’t wish for more – but, I can do more in the future. I can manage to maintain the relationships that I have – or used to have. A simple phone call or text message will do good.

So, have you say greetings to your old friends or family today?
Do it now – you might not have the chance tomorrow.

65th Wedding Anniversary? Surely A Hardwork!

On my flight to Australia, I read a book by Scott Peck – the well known ‘The Road Less Traveled’. I reached the second big theme, Love. He wrote that love is an act of courage and a hardwork. Love is effortful, unlike falling in love, which is effortless. When the two persons are out of love, what remains is the hardwork to keep the relationship as burning as when they were still in love.During my stay in Australia, slowly the process of ‘love’ welcome me. It was started when I stayed at my best friend’s place. He stayed with his partner who had different family and educational background. They also had opposite personality traits. My best friend is very bubbly, loud and colorful – while his partner is more serious, organized and quiet. Surprisingly, they can get along very well. And for the past 2 years, they never really had a fight, because everything can be handled by discussion and communication.

Then, when I moved out to another friend’s place, I also witness the hardwork of ‘love’. My friend is in relationship with her partner and they support each other positively. She always prepares the good meals for him and he always takes care of her – especially because she’s sick at the moment. Their relationship follow the flow and they never push too much toward each other.

Finally, the closing is today’s lesson. I went for mass at St. Benedict Catholic Church of Perth, WA. Turned out it was a celebration for those who celebrate their wedding anniversary. There were around 15 couples and they were called according to the years of marriage. The last one to be called was a couple who celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary.

Celebrating the 65th wedding anniversary is something rare and not everyone owns the privilege to have the same experience. People will struck by the awe and forget to ask of the ‘strategies’ to have such a long lasting marriage.

I remember one of many strategies applicable about marriage, arrangement of chatting with our partner (in The Road Less Traveled).  Sometimes we don’t feel the urge to communicate, because we don’t know what to talk about. But, remember, without communication, you’re relationship will vanished. Communication is one way of expressing love and surely, it will need a lot of hardwork. Through communication, we can understand each other. Through communication, we can see the unseen from our partners.

Want to hit the 65th anniversary? Embrace the present, enjoy the hardwork and love wholeheartedly.

Enjoy your weekend!
With love from Perth, WA.

Wedding Party and How You Perceive It

Today is a big day for my friend, Imelda and her husband, Erizal. Yes, today is their wedding day.

Wedding day is usually seen as the final point of a relationship. Once you get married, then everything will be settle and finally reach the safe point. But, is that true?

For me, wedding day is the last day of including other people in a couple’s life. Because on a wedding day, the whole world should stay as an outsider, and the couple must struggle to maintain their relationship. Sometimes the world struck hard on their marriage, or even worse, the whole world is against them.

Can they maintain it? The answer is depending on how hard the commitment that they have.

I have a best friend who told me once that in a relationship, those two people are like two porcupines who are trying their best to warm each other, without hurting each other with their spikes. It sounds hard, and yes, it is hard to do, but not impossible to do.

I am now still at the wedding party … I was wondering how other people perceive wedding day and marriage, when suddenly a girl beside me cried aloud. She cried in the middle of her meal and looked so sad.

After a while, I asked her why. She said, it is due to psychological condition. I asked no further questions.

I am still wondering what’s going on in her mind and heart about wedding day and marriage.

What’s in your mind about wedding day and marriage?

Writing is my way to share it to you.

A Child Wishes For A Home

This morning I had a session with a 10-year-old boy named R. He was reported by his mother as a rebellious, naughty and aggressive. He also failed his 3rd grade and now have to repeat the same grade again. After listening to his mother’s dos-and don’ts- I asked the parents to leave us alone.

I asked him about his activities before he met me. He answered without hesitation, but sometimes he didn’t want to have eye contact with me.

Due to short time of meeting, I asked him to draw pictures. I used BAUM (Tree Test), DAP (Draw-a-Person) and HTP (House-Tree-Person). I was surprised with the result! He drew the house halfway and he said that it was done. He drew a very small figure of a person and also a tree.

Then we talked through his pictures …

It was then revealed that his parents live separately because of domestic fighting. He used to stay with his father, until he got his academic report last month and the result was ‘Fail’. His aunt (Father’s older sister) asked him to leave the house and stay with his mother, because his aunt thought that such failure is an embarrassment for the whole family.

So, he stays with his mom since last month. His mom always screams and shouts at him. She just can’t talk. She only knows how to scream and shout! Poor boy …

When I asked R of one biggest wish that he wants … He answered: my parents to be reunited again, to live together again and taking care of me.

I did a quick session with R, it was only about 15-20 minutes. Then I asked his parents to come in and I let R went out of the room with his cousin. I took no time to ‘shoot’ the problems to his parents. His mother had teary eyes and I knew that she tried hard to hold them back. She admitted that she always scream and shout. She said that she never expected such damages happen to her son.

His father also has his own issues. He feels responsible to take care of his unmarried siblings, including his older sister. I can understand his position, because that’s how Chinese family raises their children: take care of your siblings when your parents passed away. But I made my point to his father, that he has R now. He has a son who needs to be prioritized.

I’m not seeing myself as a judge, who can classify between bad and good parents or which parenting style is the best compare to others. I’m not yet a parent myself. At least, I have my neutral ground when I help parents …

I wish there are many helpers out there who can save lives of young children, like R. Who might lose his future because he doesn’t have a solid ground to grow up when he’s a young boy …

Way to go, Parents!

Writing is my way to share it to you.

When Marriage Shattered

This story inspired by my friend, who has her marriage life shattered because of what her husband doing behind her back. He has an affair with unknown numbers of women in his workplace. She only knows one American lady who works with him as his ‘other woman’. I felt pity to her, because she has 2 children to support and also her mother is living with her. I know that her burden is not light to carry, but she’s not quitter, because she keeps on moving forward…

Moving forward when marriage is shattering apart is not an easy movement as well. The difference in defining ‘moving forward’ term may bring someone into the wrong hole (and I’m wishing that she’s not). Moving forward may define an act to move forward with the children per se and end up the marriage because the effect of affair will be discovered by the children later on. Moving forward may also means that my friend will find the better man in the future. Moving forward may also indicates a need to be independent and just leave her husband, even without divorce.

There are so many things to consider if my friend needs to move forward. I am seeing this incident from Indonesian way of seeing things, that we have to include so many people as consideration before coming to the final decision. She has to consider about her own family’s reaction, because she has quite a number of extended family. She also has to think about the reaction of her husband’s family. And if she decided to move forward with someone else, then she also needs to consider about the quality of that person and how his family may react on the decision of getting married. It is very confusing…

I am wondering on what will happen to her children. I am thinking of what will they ask to their mom about their waht-so-called family, if their father did not well-functioning a a father and husband. Or what will they feel if their mom decides to get married with someone else…

I just wish all the best for her! Trully…

After the Wedding

Yay! Finally, the wedding day of Rheza and Puspa was over. The day that have been waiting by the couple and us: family, friends and supporters!

Couple, bridesmaids and groom men

Couple, bridesmaids and groom men

I have to admit that I’m skeptical with what so-called happy wedding. Weird but true. I’ve seen many happy marriages, name it my parents’ marriage. They have been together for almost 30 years and they still tease each other. My mom always makes coffee for my Dad every morning. She prepared the bread while my Dad gets busy with his newspapers. Then the days will go on…

When I see the long and winding road that have been through by Rheza and Puspa, I feel reminded to open my heart and eyes to see the world in such a different way. I know that this world is full of love and we share it everyday with many people around us. I even practice that love-approach with those around me, with old or new people. But, when it comes into personal relationship, I’d rather back off.

The wedding dance

The wedding dance

I define relationship as a place where two people are fighting over tiny and unimportant stuff. When I said that last Friday, during make up re-touch, Rheza touched my hand and said, ‘Naughty’. I was laughing out loud and kept on throwing the joke to others. But then, I think through it. And I ‘think’ relationship is more than that. Rheza and Puspa have been through hard times in their early years of relationship and they still have to control their boat of love for the rest of their lives. They had the vow and they have to enjoy it … through good and bad times.

Hopefully the vow they took is an everlasting vow. It will able to go through good and bad times await in front of them (and many other couples).

Child Marriage : Minor Wedding with Minor Attention

Sometimes I just can’t believe what I read in the newspaper. Such as the news of 43-year-old man who took a 12-year-old girl as his second wife (further reading in Indonesian). I’m trying hard to think about what was in his mind? Well, I think it’s not my part to judge his decision, for I have no right. But at least, let me write down how I feel about such things.

Ulfa (12yo) and Syeh Puji (43 yo)

Ulfa (12yo) and Syeh Puji (43 yo)

Children are like jewelry. That’s the belief that I grew up with. Until now, for I’m working with children, I still believe those belief. I agree that we have to respect children and their rights. We need to take care of children for they are the next generation to lead this universe. And we need to facilitate – not provide – their needs to be able to grow up and have a sense of well-being.

When people treat a child as nothing, it means that they waste their future generation for nothing. Child couples are one example of treating children inappropriately. In their development, each child needs a shelter to facilitate them. In common, it means their parents or family. But sometimes, those loved ones turn out to be the ‘bad guy’ for the children. They ‘sell’ their children (especially girls) to go for under age wedding. In India, it has been social customs for hundred years and it’s still happening now … “some estimates put the number of child marriages in the country at several thousands every year. In some cases, the bride and the groom are said to be little more than toddlers, though the majority are in their teens.” (further reading)

11 yo Groom in India

11 yo Groom in India

The effects of child marriage are coming next. Let’s say, the abandonment of the bride, who is usually taken as an unpaid servant in the groom’s family and not as a wife. The bride’s family feels relieve after sending off their daughter for marriage, because it means they have no burden anymore. It is due to the culture that the bride’s family have to pay for the marriage expenses.

Another effect is the risk of having babies in their young age. Most of the girls lost their babies because they have to understanding about how to raise a baby and most of all, because their bodies are not mature enough to carry a baby in their womb. Imagine a child or teenager have to raise a baby! I’m 27 years old now and still thinking on how hard child-rearing is.

Don’t forget with the high numbers of divorce and being widows/widowers. They have been used to do it. Many of those 40-50 years old men and women in India have been re-married for 4-5 times! If someone has no second chance to re-married, he/she will be ashame. Yeah, what a shame to think this way…

Child bride and her baby

Child bride and her baby

Parents often say to make a wish for the world … so, it will be able to create a better world and having a high level of well-being among us.

It is still a wish for those stolen generation.

Let’s make a wish for them!