Almost one year ago, I received the news of his untimely death when I was in HCMC, almost one week after Raya too.
During last year’s Raya, I sent a lot of SMS to the people from MCKK who were close to me, especially when I felt we had drifted apart. I sent one such SMS to one of Shahrol’s batchmate from Class of 93:
“Oit XXXXX i know we went thru rough patches lately. 4 whatever it was worth I always think how u r masa raya2 ni n I nvr 4 once 4get what u hv done 4 me n d kids. Went thru some old pix of d db8ers when it was a lot happier – n I thot I owe u dis sms”
Unfortunately, for whatever reasons (mostly taking him for granted all along because you always thought he would be around for you forever) I didn’t even reply Shahrol’s raya SMS last year.
The next SMS I received from his handphone was when I was in HCMC:
“Raf, shahrol dah tak ada. Dia meninggal pkl 6 pg”
There was a series of SMS as it began to dawn that the unthinkable had happened:
“Ko buat joke ke apa? Oit joke jgn la joke mcm ni.”
“Aku dpt sms ni frm shahrol no. Aku call tp x dpt. Cn u check - Raf, shahrol dah tak ada. Dia meninggal pkl 6 pg”
“I feel that I ll never know how to feel ur feeling coz I m not in ur shoes. But, be strong his soul will be remained in a better place up there”
“Abg XXX jgn seedy sgt.. Walaupon sy x knl allahyarham, tp sy phm perasaan kehilangan sorang tmn tok slamenya.. We are still being given a chance 2 breath on diz earth, so we’ve 2 use it wisely.. We just can pray 4 his goodness there.. Alfatihah”
“B storng abg XXXX. I know it must b very hard on u to lose abg shahrol. All I can say is hav faith in God’s judgment. Allah syg kat dia.. ada hikmah 4 all of us behind dis. insyaAllah..”
“I noe dat abg shahrol n abg ben r very special to u, which is why it must be so hard 4 u. jz hang in dere abg XXXXX..”
“Time passes by, raf, and may soon overtake us. But the love is constant and only goes stronger. Even when I am gone, I will watch over you as full of pride at you as I have always been.”
“Was going thru my intray. Just saw the raya kad from shahrol to me and nasu..”
A death of a loved one, should change us as a person. Shahrol’s passing changed me a lot – the way I look at life, the ambitions I used to have, the urgency on things I did not think were urgent before and many others.
I am sure that each time someone we love leaves us forever, we would make many promises to honour him/her. I too had made many promises to myself – some I managed to keep, some I couldn’t (or was too lazy and got carried away).
I managed to wear the MCKK tie more oftenly after his death (because that was his present to me to compel me to wear since I was initially not keen on MCKK tie), but I haven’t even started compiling all his videos and photos which I wanted to give to his little children, so that they know what a wonderful human being their father was in his life when they grow up.
I reactivated some contacts from the previous life as an activist as how he would have wished (he was whining all the time that I chose to walk away from what I was meant to do in life), yet he would have frowned if he had known that I have had plans to walk away from some other things (yet again).
But such is life – it’s a mixture of stories and baggage that we carry with us. The older we are, the more baggage we have. Yet the baggage can sometimes be a blessing in disguise – as it will always remind us of the place we have been and the people we were.
So, as much as Hari Raya most probably will continue to remind me of all the promises to Shahrol that I have not kept – at least that “baggage” will ensure I will never forget him.
Good luck Shahrol, I hope other people remember you as much as I do. We pray that you will be blessed all the time with His bounties, for the kindness you had extended throughout your life.
Allahyarham Shahrol Nizam Yusoff passed away on 22 October 2007 at the age of 31. He left behind a widow, 3 girls and a boy who was born 2 weeks after he passed away. He was a librarian, a debater, used to play basketball in his junior years, was in Dorm 19 West Wing and a Sulaiman House debater in his junior and senior years. Received a scholarship from PETRONAS to do A-Level at Hurstpierpoint College, UK before reading Accountancy at Lancaster University.
He was very active in MCOBA as one of Ballgreave Ballers and served in CCD Committee. He continued to coach MCKK’s debaters until his untimely death.