“Amin! Amin! Wake up please!”, called my mother in law trying to wake me up from my deep sleep. I was dead tired from taking care of my newborn for the past 12 hours.
“What is in this plastic and why is there a bad smell coming out from it?”, she asked pinching her nose while showing me the bag.
In my heart, “OMG.. What plastic bag?… The URI!!
At this moment I thought to myself, am I the worst son in law, a husband and father to my child? I can’t even settle a simple job..
I remembered carrying the white plastic bag home when my wife and our daughter was discharged from hospital and honestly I didn’t remember where I left that plastic bag as I had to attend to my wife’s demands at that time. That evening the hospital called to bring the baby back to the hospital because the blood test indicated that she had jaundice. So we rushed back in the beat and since then I have totally forgotten about that white plastic bag.
2 weeks later…
It didn’t smell in the beginning and even if it did smell, we were too tired to notice it. Besides juggling with the wife and the baby, I still had to go back to office to settle office matters. So imagine how tired I was then. Then came my mother in law asking me about that white plastic bag that fine day.
Yes.. So OMG right..
I stood up from my napping position, walk over to my mother in law and said to her nicely, “OK Amin will settle it”. I took the white plastic bag from her hand and brought it to the kitchen sink. I read from somewhere previously that we were supposed to wash this before burial. So I did attempt to wash it but I couldn’t.
It was already 2 weeks old. The moment I open up the plastic bag, the stench was just unbearable. Furthermore the placenta was almost decomposed. If I were to wash it, everything would end up into the drains and stench would spread into the living room. Before that could happen, I sealed it back and quickly brought it out of the house.
If I were really lazy, I would have just dumped it into the rubbish bin but knowing that this was part of my wife and it had sustained my daughter’s life while she was in my wife’s belly, it meant so much to me that it must be done proper. So according to the Muslim way, we had to bury it.
I asked around if anyone close to me had it. I rang up my elder bro who used to be a regular in the Army. In my mind thinking that he still has the ET Stick and blade. He didn’t answer his phone. My dad too didn’t answer his phone. So i resorted to finding it at the hardware shops. Honestly I thought the first hardware shop would have it but that was not necessarily true. It took me to 3 shops around my area just to find it.
And by this time it was almost Maghrib. My wife would probably be wondering where her husband was at that point…
Location. Location. Location.
I thought through to find the perfect spot to bury this. Mostly all of my friends had done their burials at the Pusara Aman cemetery, but looking at the time now, there is no way I am going there at this hour. Then I remembered there is a untouched forest like area next to the BTO of my new house. We haven’t move in yet because the flat was still under renovation.
Fortunately, I brought along the keys to the house and I could perform my Maghrib there. I couldn’t leave the URI in the car as it would stench it, so I took it along with me. The neighbours haven’t moved in yet too otherwise they would have wondered why is there a man holding on to a plastic bag and a big changkul. Did he murder someone? Funny and serious thoughts did run through my mind.
It was 7.45pm. It did cross my mind to come back the next morning to bury it but the stench was just getting worse. I dragged myself to the forest armed with the changkul, torch light and the white plastic bag in my hand.
Now to find that spot. In my mind, all I need to make sure is that the area is not easily found and detected by wild dogs. So I walked in deeper into the forest until I found that little spot. I placed the torchlight and the white plastic bag just beside me, grab the changkul and started to dig.
It reminded me of exercise Spade and exercise Nutcracker in the Army where we had to dig trenches and shell scrapes overnight. While we had our buddies helping out each other back then, now I was alone digging and digging. Do you know what’s the most irritating part? Mosquitos. Hungry ones. I don’t think they had seen a human walking into the forest often. My body was bruising as they feasted on me. I blanked my mind and continued digging until the depth reached the height of my knees and it was wide enough for the plastic to go in.
With plastic or no plastic?
It crossed my mind to remove the plastic and pour the placenta into ground but it was already decomposed. I made the decision to bury it together with the plastic so that the smell will not get out so easily and the wild dogs will not detect it. So I covered the placenta back with the sand that I dug up earlier.
By then it was almost 9pm and when I took out my phone, I saw many miss calls from the wife. It was time to go home. I walked out with the changkul, filled with bucket of sweats and bruises by the mosquito bites. Called my wife and said, “Honey. Mission completed”.
Remembering back the incident I told myself I am going to be a better father and husband in the future. Mistakes like this may happen to any first time dads. Sharing personal experience to others may help guide and remind first time parents on the do’s and the don’ts. Sometimes I wonder and wish “I could hire someone to do this burial for me and do not have to trouble myself.”
The story mentioned above is based on a true story. It could happen to any 1st time dads especially when the unexpected happens. Jaundice or any other after child birth issues tends to be common these days and we understand the frustration that parents have to go through.
Through this experience and others that we talked to, we hope that this service we offer will lighten up the loads during the after birth journeys.
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