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Mourn for a dear friend

A Sympathy bouquet for a dear friend

A Sympathy bouquet for a dear friend

I would never imagine receiving a SMS informing me a dear friend JH passed away more than a year ago! My tears just flew down my cheeks continuously. I recalled the last phone conversation we had during which we agreed to cancel our arrangement to attend a poetry recital. We were both not in our best shape. I was coping with a relapse of clinical depression and my friend was dealing with her congenital heart disease.

We agreed to touch base when we both felt better. Every now and then, JH would email me about a concert or a movie she already bought tickets. She thought I might be interested to go along. Nine out of ten times she was right. She knew my taste well. W shared very similar values – love of arts and have a strong sense of justice!

We met when I started a new job as the project officer for a multicultural mental health project and she worked for a similar program aiming at educating GPs (or family physicians) on treating patients from Culturally and Linguistic Diverse backgrounds facing mental health challenges. I only stayed in that job for 6 months, but our friendship flourished for many years until I got the bad news.

I kept asking myself, ‘How could this happen?’ I tried many times to connect with her – called her mobile, sent emails to both her personal and work address and finally sent her an invitation to the annual Animal of the Year Chinese New Year Celebration at my place. I got an SMS from JH’s brother 2 days later!

JH was a regular guests of my New Year Celebration Parties. She enjoyed sharing her ethnic cuisines with me and taught me how to make Vietnamese summer rolls. In exchange, I showed her how to make the true Chinese Cookies ‘Smiling Faces’. I told my guests if the Cookies cracked open wide like smiling at you, fortune and health would come to you that year! We had so much fun at this annual event. I always put in so much effort to think of various games to entertain my guests! We did Chinese Calligraphy one year and wrote so many Chinese ‘Fai-Chun’ blessings for everyone to take home. Traditionally these Chinese blessings are posted on the household’s front doors, and pillar to keep the whole family from bad luck!

I am still grieving my dear friend. I think of JH when I go to see a foreign language movie in the cinema. I think of JH when I attend a talk at the Museum of Contemporary Art. I think of JH when I walk along Coogee Beach. This bouquet of November Lilies with elegant white Roses and pink daisies is my tribute to you. You will be missed forever.

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