Dear Uncle Lim,
I heard about auntie's passing this afternoon when Steven called from Singapore. I was pleasantly surprised to hear Steven's voice over the phone but was initially puzzled by the choked voice. I felt foolish chirping "Hor seh bor?" as my opening greet when I recognised his voice in the opening seconds. If only I knew what the phone call was all about before hand, I would have sounded less like an idiot under the circumstances.
It was sad to lose Auntie Lim but the years of fighting breast cancer and enduring chemotherapy, perhaps it is good that the whole ordeal is over. Auntie may from hereon be gone from our lives but she will always be remembered as the Lord has taken her to be by His side.
I remember Auntie Lim fondly for she was the closest to an aunt in Singapore, since most of my relatives are in Ta1wan and USA. Our families have a strong bond and quite a history together. Even my cousins Nick and Roy were classmates with your elder son Vincent. And then there is me. Steven and I spent 6 years of primary school as classmates, sharing the same ceiling fan. I have fond memories of your Mitsubishi Tredia as Auntie and you would pick us up from school everyday without fail. I also remember the ABBA songs piping from the car stereo as well as the mashed-up panadol, mixed in water for Steven's frequent headaches. Yes, we were well taken care of since young.
I also remember the house. The same house 30 years ago from when postal code was 2 digits, then 4, now 6. Your home phone number has always been etched inside my head where I could just recall it straight from my finger tips. Only thing is that I keep forgetting to add the 6 in front these days. I remember all the Milos and the Ribenas whenever I came over to visit. Even my command of the Teochew language originated from this house, despite not being one myself.
Auntie Lim had been an influence in the early parts of my life and a little part of who I am today is attributed to her guidance and upbringing of the two of us.
Steven and I are destined to be life-long friends for after going separate ways during secondary school and junior college days, who would have expected that we were to end up in the same camp, same brigade HQ, same company during our National Service days? To top it off, we worked in the same company after graduation and quit the same company at the same time.
Perhaps the funniest thing of all is while we all grew up into adults, Auntie Lim still fussed over us every step of the way.
I am writing this with the heaviest of emotions and I could have sworn I felt a tear drop inside my heart.
I am sure Vincent, Steven and their respective families would be able to cope well, but it is you, Uncle Lim, that I am most worried about. I hope that you will be strong in this time of grief and I know that it is especially hard for you as in my 30 years of knowing you, I have never seen you without Auntie Lim by your side. You are like the Siamese Twins of lovey dovey and the envy of everybody who knows you.
I pray that the Lord will keep an eye on you and the rest of the family and I thank the Lord that He has taken Auntie Lim home.
I must apologise that I will not be able to make it back in time for the cremation on Monday. Perhaps all that I can offer right now is a humble prayer that the Lord be with you and the family in this time of difficulty.