GEORGE TOWN: For the first time in 40 years, Rohana Zainal did not bake orange cookies for Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

They were her husband’s favourite, but he was not around to celebrate this year.

Arsad Ismail died of Covid-19 last month.

“We would bake together before the celebration. The laughter and the time spent together was always great. Celebrating Hari Raya without him is no longer the same,” said Rohana.

“The mood was sombre and I didn’t make the cookies. I still cannot get over it. I think of him whenever people talk about baking cookies and the tears just flow.

“I’ll just have to carry on, with the love and support of my children and grandchildren.”

Rohana, 59, said Arsad, 71, was fully vaccinated and had always stayed home.

“I am still baffled as to how he became infected,” she said.

Rohana has two children and six grandchildren aged seven to 17.

She spent Hari Raya with her 40-year-old son, who came from Bangi, Selangor, to her house in Teluk Bahang here.

Civil servant Sazali Said, 47, also had a sombre Raya.

He lost two important women in his life, both to Covid-19.

His wife and mother-in-law died in September last year. Both were not vaccinated.

“Every year, we would wear new clothes and visit our loved ones.

“But I was not in the mood to celebrate this year. We are still trying to come to terms with the loss,” he said.

Sazali said he was the first in the family to test positive on Sept 14 last year.

He then asked his wife, mother-in-law and children to move to a relative’s house.

“They refused and preferred to stay with me, so I had to isolate myself in a room.

“After a few days, my wife’s mother fell unconscious. She was found to be positive and passed away,” he said.

His wife, who was grieving and refused to eat after her mother’s death, also started complaining of breathing difficulties a few days later.

“She passed away at Penang Hospital on September 30. The doctor allowed me to talk to her via a video call before she died,” he said.

After the heartbreak, Sazali has a message for others.

“For those who have yet to be vaccinated, please do so to protect yourself and your loved ones.”