Whisper Me Lullaby

Whisper Me Lullaby
Ahmad Tri Hawaari, Pos Kota – Jakarta

“Mom, can you read me the story book? Just like dad used to do when he put me to sleep. It’s been a while since I last heard a story, Mom…,” said Kinanti (6) to her mom as she put down her milk bottle and flicked her little fingers on a blanket – a gift from her late father. 

Two years of pandemic means many people experience loss, and children are no exception. As of September 2021, the Ministry of Social Affairs recorded that at least 30,766 Indonesian children have lost their parents to Covid-19. This story attempts to explore the realities of those children, seeing their effort to keep on living and find happiness after mourning even when governmental support program ATENSI (Social Rehabilitation Assistance) has yet to reach them.

Ananda (13) lost her mother, making her an orphan since her dad had left the family when she was young. Her condition has encouraged Yusuf (57), an uncle from her mother’s side, to take the role as her primary caretaker. “Dad, let’s eat. I miss eating together with Mom. We used to eat together like this, Dad,” said Ananda as she asked Yusuf to eat with her.

Fikri (8), lost his dad, and because of economic reasons, he now has to live at the Sunter Muara Orphanage. There, he finds that living with friends who share his experience has helped ease his sadness. He often sneaks out to meet Sukimah (46), his mom who lives nearby. He tells her how much he misses his dad, who used to ask him to play in their 2x3sqm rented room. “Mom, if only Dad was still around, we’d have gone out to get pizza,” he said while holding his mom tight. 

Sisters Kinanti (6) and Kinara (1,5) have grown up without their dad Suhendra (44) since they were toddlers. But the days spent with their mother Yunarah (32), warmed their hearts. They would watch their favorite cartoon show, hop, and play on the sofa to avoid missing their father too much. “Mom, if only Dad was still around, he’d have taken us on the train ride then explored a park. When it was payday, he’d buy me a pony toy that I love,” Kinanti said to her Mom.

Losing parents is extremely hard, especially for children who need love and care. Sometimes, we humans have to get to a point where we lose everything to understand the meaning of presence, love, and finding happiness that trumps all. At their age, the children still dream about their parents singing love songs to help them get through the cruel world.