I went to school with DD, although we were never in the same class (she was in the class next door) we all knew her. She had a very pleasant personality and was a cheerful and bubbly person. We got to know her better in recent years when she started joining us at our a-few-times-a-year small social gatherings with some old classmates/schoolmates.
She loved to travel and had travelled extensively with her husband and only son to all 5 continents; throughout the years I saw snapshots of them on safari in South Africa, taking a breather at the steps by Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil, riding camel and picking grapes on the Silk Road, swimming with dolphins in the Philippines, admiring the traditional buildings in Bhutan, being moved by the sad love story behind Taj Mahal and enjoying the change of scenery on their ride on the Tran-Siberian Railway just to name a few… they had left their foot prints everywhere and had trekked all over the world much to our envy.
DD also loved to bake and for someone who doesn’t really have a sweet tooth like me I actually loved her chocolate cake. She loved to sing too and was in the school choir and years later after our graduation she even took part in the choir performance and sang with a small group of alumni from different years but shared the same love in singing. I was told she loved to sew but I never got to see any of her projects. However, I did see her wearing one of her tops with embroidery that she had done herself and I remembered that day over coffee during one of the gatherings we talked about our mutual interest in embroidery.
I invited DD to my small girls’ parties many times over the last 2 years as I enjoyed her pleasant personality and her stories about her travel which I thought my other friends would enjoy her company too. And when she got to know what I like, well, it is actually pretty obvious as I have a huge collection of elephant figurines lying around in my place and that was when she started buying unique little elephants for me from her overseas trips.
The last time DD called me was some time in October 2013 and she had called to request me to invite 2 of our mutual friends to my next girls dinner party. One of the girls was my friend Val whom she met at one of my parties and they got on well as they found their shared interest in photography and travelling, and the other one to invite was her friend S whom I had lunch with once as she wanted to show S my upcycling projects. However, before I had the chance to set a date, in fact, it was only a few days after the phone call that we heard the shocking news that DD was diagnosed with gall bladder cancer.
DD never went for chemotherapy because the silent killer had already spread extensively. She sought alternative naturopathy and throughout the trying period she faced it all with amazing strength and courage, and she maintained being positive and composed all the way. Her husband and son stood by her and they spent all the time possible with her in the last few months and that really was precious quality time for them other than the time they went travelling together all over the world.
In the end she came to terms with her terminal illness and she saw to it that everything was sorted and arranged accordingly, and she said goodbye to all the friends and relatives that she wanted to say goodbye to. She and her son chose her picture to be placed at the funeral parlour and on her tombstone, she picked her favourite nightshirt that she would be buried in and she asked our mutual good friend May to deliver her eulogy at her memorial service.
DD lost her courageous fight in the early hours of 5 March 2014, less than 5 months after her first diagnosis of gall bladder cancer. Eventhough we knew of her illness and her struggles, it still was a shock to us that we have lost her.
It was heart-breaking and we grieved to see her depart so soon and so young but the comforting thought was she is no longer suffering and we knew she has gone home to be with the Lord. She told her twin sister just 2 days before she passed away that she was at peace and she had no more regrets as she had settled everything and done all that she wanted, had the privilege to travel far and wide and had a life well lived!
DD will be dearly missed… her stories and wisdom gathered from her trips, her baking, her easy-going and carefree nature, her thoughtfulness, her voice, her laughter, her presence….. so it is goodbye now DD until we meet again and have our long-awaited dinner party in heaven!
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, âHe is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.â