March 26, 2013

Ode to the departed

Category: Random

Exactly a month ago to the day, I sent a private message to an old friend right after I read her Facebook status update that went, “Still miss her. Emotionally painful.”

I didn’t know what that meant, and while I read the replies to the update, nothing had clicked in my head at that time.  Knowing that she would always reply my messages, I didn’t think anything of it and waited patiently for the reply to come. I then forgot about it.

Today, exactly a month later, I received a reply – but not in the way that I had expected.  The message had come from her husband whom I had known from a long, long time ago, informing me that his wife had passed on from a sudden illness.  She was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer sometime in December last year, and had passed away peacefully on 9thJanuary 2013. It was her husband who wrote the status update.

The news shocked me. I had to re-read everything he wrote several times before the message actually sunk in. Tears immediately rolled down my cheeks and I had to compose myself before I could even write a reply. I thought I would be seeing her again for Hari Raya this year, and looking forward to give her a big, fat hug. I had missed her.  It was hard to believe that she was gone …and that for a good six months since I last “chatted” with her, I didn’t send her a message to even say hi. I didn’t get the chance to say my goodbye.

Her name was Vicky Tan aka Vicvanvinkle, and even though we were never so close, she had always been a dear friend of mine. I first knew her when I started out my professional career way back in 1998. I was a newbie in the department, and she was the receptionist.

We lost touch for many years later after we both left the company (at separate times). Somehow, through the grapevine and years later, she got in touch with me again. I think I still have her first “getting in touch” email in my inbox!

We corresponded via email, and then through Facebook. I always  made it a point to try meet up with her whenever I am back in Singapore, and continued our correspondence every now and then.  She would be one of my mom’s regular Hari Raya visitors, and like us, she was a foodie! She introduced me to a fabulous brand of satay, and made me a convert to an instant satay product – something I swore I would never do.  She was also one of the few avid readers of my blog.

I will always remember her as someone so positive, easy going, funny and full of life. She lived simple and did not care for anything material. She worked “just because” – in her words, to occupy her time more than anything else. She did not like stress and was happy to do simple jobs. She was always smiling. Most of all, she was one of the most sincere and sweetest person I have ever met. She was a very nice lady.

We never hung out often, Vic and I – but we had some sort of kindred spirit, so to speak.  She was easy to talk to and her friendly nature was just contagious. For years we kept up communication, and every year, she would always remember my birthday, without fail.

Vic was an amazing person,  I am utterly shaken with the fact that she had been gone for a while now. This would have to be my goodbye – and it breaks my heart to know that I’ll never see her again in this life.

This one is for your my friend. Thank you for your friendship, your kind words, your thoughts. Thank you for the memory and thank you for your random musing which in one way or another contributed to some of the posts on my blog. Thank you for being a part of my life. 

Goodbye my dear friend, Vic. It was such a great honour to know you and you certainly will be missed. I am sure that you are now in a better place and looking down upon us. May your soul rest in peace.

In loving memory of a dear friend, Vicky Tan.


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