Monday morning, as I was scrolling through my Instagram feed, I saw that S’s account posted a photo of her in her younger days, smiling… looking youthful and radiant, with the hashtag, #wemissyoueveryday. My heart sank. I knew she was battling cancer privately, but I thought the chemo was working and she was getting better. I went back to our whatsapp conversation and realized that she never wrote me back after October and the X’mas greeting photo I sent her were unread with the single check. “No, no, no no no….” I thought – went to her Facebook page and her account had already been changed to – Remembering S. I then saw the message her husband. S passed away early Dec and cremated in January. My mind went blank… How did I miss this? How did I not see it? My heart breaks for her kids, 8 and 6 – her eldest was Ashley’s bff from school in HK. The part that saddens me the most is when her husband wrote, “She desperately wanted to be there for A and E, and held on as long as she could, at the end, the pain was just too much”.
S and I met when our daughters became besties in kindy. I think I first met her when we were invited to S’s birthday party. I took Ashley and Avery with me. Even though I didn’t know a single soul, S was warm and kind. There after, we would take turns to host playdates and the more I got to know her, the more I thought of her as my friend – instead of just a mommy friend. Although our personalities were quite different, we had similar parenting styles and world view. Humble, kind and modest is how I would describe her. I hadn’t seen her in 3 years because we had moved away from Hong Kong and because of COVID. I found out about her cancer battle inadvertently when we were chatting about something else on whatsapp. I didn’t want to pry but just wanted to cheer her on, and tell her to remain optimistic. A year went by, and we didn’t talk about it much anymore. She was always a big supporter of the blog and Fun Taiwan Kids, giving me feedback from time to time. After a while, our conversation moved away from her illness and I thought everything had gone back to normal.
I reached out to her mother later that night and spoke on the phone to convey my condolences. She said that S’s condition took a turn for the worst in October and her health deteriorated quickly. My heart goes out to her husband who is grieving but needs to stay strong for the children, her mom who lost a daughter and helping the husband to look after the kids, and of course, her babies who will miss her everyday. I never got to say goodbye to her so I sent some final words to her in whatsapp. I kick myself for not checking up on her after she didn’t reply to my messages in October and messages unread in Dec. But I know in very typical S fashion, she would have been very forgiving and tells me, “it’s alright, I know you’re super busy”. S will remain in my heart forever and I will make sure that A and Ashley remain friends always. S would have liked that. I’ll remember her and treasure the memories I have with her. The world lost a beautiful soul, and A & E lost their mother. I just want to hug them and tell them that they are going to be alright, because mommy will watch them from heaven.