Posted August 17, 2009on:
It’s amazing. My grandfathers were both in the military. They both received “Bintang Gerilya” which means they both fought the war for Indonesia’s independence. Here comes the amazing part. Both of my grandfathers died on August 17th. They passed away on a Thursday and were buried on a Friday. So, they are both resting peacefully at Taman Makam Pahlawan. For that reason I sometimes tell my friends jokingly, “I’m the chosen one.”
For me and my family, August 17th is a very sacred date.
I never met my paternal grandfather; he died when my father was still in high school. I’ve heard stories about him from my father and his siblings. They say that my grandfather, whose name was simply “Barley”, was so much into arts. He was a big and dark-skinned man. His old pictures at my grandmother’s house look a bit scary.
If I never met my paternal grandfather, I was very close to my maternal grandfather. He was a very nice person. I loved him with all my heart. He was the first person who taught me English; I remember how he encouraged my mother to put me and my brother to an English course in Malang. My Mom didn’t have enough money at that time, as my Dad was back in school, but my grandfather helped out although his monthly pension was not really that much.
Today, I went to Makam Taman Pahlawan Kalibata with my maternal grandmother, Auntie, and Dela for “ziarah”. We Muslims are encouraged to visit the cemetery before the holy month Ramadan. The weather was very hot, couldn’t complain because it’s Jakarta. We were lucky my grandfather’s tomb was not so far away from the entrance, and that’s because he died in 1967.
We poured the rose water into his tomb and the flowers we had bought at the entrance. We prayed for his peacefulness. I managed to take some good pictures, trying to look like a professional photographer. After 15 minutes being exposed in the sun, I began to sweat like crazy. My face turned to red and I felt like jumping into a big swimming pool.
One thing I like about Taman Makam Kalibata is the fact that it’s so neat. Compared to other cemeteries like Karet, Kalibata is so nice and organized. I always joke this fact by saying, “Military men are so neat, even when they’re dead.”
I hope my grandfathers are resting in peace.