Sunday, March 20, 2011

In Memoriam of Asep Sambodja

It was about 100 days ago when I heard the worst news in my life. My undergraduate academic supervisor, Mas Asep Sambodja, had just passed away. I felt nothing back then, for maybe the news wasn't unexpected and, paradoxically, deep in my heart I didn't believe it. Mas Asep had been sick for over one and a half year. He suffered intestines cancer--an inheritance from his days as a journalist (that's why I WON'T be a journalist EVER). I also had heard that a doctor had said there had been no hope for him, that he had been only biding his time.

But for a while in 2009, he had recovered from his illness. He had had a difficult surgery in Jakarta, but he had survived. He had regained some weight and had gone to the university again, finishing his research--of which I helped him translating into English. Thus, when Mas Asep got very sick again, I always believed that such miracle would happen again, that I would see him again, healthy and full of life. And for the first few days of his death, I still thought that he were just away looking for a cure to his illness in other cities, I still believed that he would come back.

Mas Asep was my lecturer, my teacher, my friend, and the closest person to a father to me. He's the one who was always proud of me, always believed that I could be everything, always thought that I was a terrific writer even though I was sure I was horrible instead. Now I still have to spend three or four years ahead studying in the university, and it's hard for me to think that he wouldn't be around, that I wouldn't be able to tell him about what I'm going to do this semester and the next, that he wouldn't be there to tell me what he's doing for Indonesian literature.

Of all the things I regret having not told him about is thank you, I'm so grateful that you were there. However, the greatest thing about being left by a writer and a poet is I have many pieces of him in form of books, poems, and online notes that I can read whenever I miss him. Even his wife, Mba Yuni, still go online with his Facebook dan Yahoo! account every now and then so I can always pretend that he's still there. But now I know that I have to accept the fact that he's gone and I have to pray for his well-being in the afterlife. And the fact that it's time to say good bye.

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