Two years on: Still missed, never forgotten

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It’s been two years and there are days when something still catches in my throat when I think of you, taking me by surprise. I hope you are well, my friend. If there were a Starbucks around here, I would have a caramel macchiato in your honour, iced of course, even though it’s 16 degrees out. Here’s to you: still missed and never, ever forgotten.

One year ago: One more star in heaven

One year on, you are remembered and cherished. You are missed. Every time I watch a show you enjoyed, every time I read about an actor you liked, every time something happens that, normally, before one year ago, I would have simply picked up my phone and texted you.

I often think of your big, big heart, your never-ending exuberance for life, and the way you brought a ragtag bunch of people together who otherwise wouldn’t be in each others’ lives the way we are. I guess what I’m trying to say is: you’re still an inspiration.

Much love, always.

Learning to grieve

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The very first time I attended a funeral, I was 30 years old. I suppose you could say I was kind of fortunate to have avoided an encounter with grief for so long, but I knew it was only a matter of time. The past year has been a crash course in loss and grief: a friend’s twin baby girls, my grandma, a close, dear colleague.

Today is Mei Ann‘s birthday; she would have been 33. I wasn’t able to attend her funeral, and maybe that’s why I occasionally have to remind/convince myself that she’s really gone. Her email address still pops up, her Facebook account is still there. Her number is still in my phone. But at least I’m not expecting her to text me and tell me what happened at her own funeral. Which, crazily enough, I did for about a week.

The thing about grief, as I’ve learned, is that it becomes easier to tap into the more you do it. And it is only when you lose someone you truly hold dear that words like ‘heaven’ and ‘resurrection’ really mean something.

One more star in heaven

I remember the first time we met, the last time we spoke. And all the moments in between, too many to count. More press conferences than I can recall, the dozens of interviews we did together. All those tennis events we covered – those were always extra special, somehow – that time we snuck into the VIP lounge at KLIA to get a photo with Richard Gasquet and Rafael Nadal. That was all you; I didn’t have a clue where they were. You always found a way, and that was just one of the many things I admired about you. Thanks for letting me tag along for the ride.

I never told you how lucky I felt to have known you, how grateful I was that our paths crossed. You were one of the kindest, sweetest, most generous people I had ever met. Doubt I’ll meet too many more like you. Sentimental to a fault, sure, but also arguably the single most patient human being that ever walked the face of this Earth. I’m not the only one who thinks so, and all of us can’t be wrong so it must be true. I hope you know how cherished you were, that even in your too-short time with us, you made such a big, big difference. Thanks for, well, everything.

Rest in peace always, Mei Ann. I’ll think of you often. You used to joke that we had a psychic link (“psycho link”, you called it). Does it still work? Because you are so fondly remembered, deeply loved and dearly missed.

Till we meet again.