“No, you didn’t make any mistakes.” Mrs. Diah caressed Winda’s hair.
“But… it wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t held a party for Shanti,” uttered Heru sadly.
“She passed away not because of the party, Heru,” replied Mrs. Diah.
“But….” Dewi interrupted.
“Did Shanti ever tell you about her disease?” Mrs. Diah asked.
“Her disease?” Dewi was curious.
“What do you mean, Ma’am?” Winda wondered.
“All right, I’ll tell you all about it.” Mrs. Diah took a deep breath and began to tell the story,”Around three months ago, Shanti and I went to see a doctor because Shanti often complained about her head and her sight. From the medical examination, the doctor concluded that she suffered from a brain cancer.”
“Cancer?” Heru was shocked.
“Yes. And the doctor predicted that Shanti wouldn’t live long.” Mrs. Diah’s eyes were wet. Teardrops rolled down.
“Did Shanti know about her illness?” asked Winda.
“Yes, she did.” Mrs. Diah wiped her tears. “But… as you all know Shanti is a tough girl. She didn’t want other people to know about her real condition. She did everything as if nothing had happened. She kept studying hard. She went to school in the morning and gave private English and mathematics lessons to Junior High School students in the afternoon. She ever said,’Life is so short, but meaningful. That’s why, I must make good use of it as well as I can.’ She helped me much in my daily activities.”
“What a girl!” said Heru.
“Yeah, I’m very proud of her. Since her father passed away a year ago, she has helped support the family by teaching Junior High School students. She realized that the pension money I received from her father wasn’t enough to satisfy our daily needs. Let alone, her younger brother and sister need money for their schooling.”
“She’s a great girl!” Dewi praised and admired Shanti. “We are very sorry, Ma’am, we couldn’t attend the funeral ceremony yesterday. It was because…it was hard to say goodbye and to see Shanti leave this world. She has left us for good. We all have lost her, Ma’am.