I still received ‘love letters’ every year from Swee Choo until last year when she was diagnosed with cancer. Every year, this dear friend and old colleague of mine never missed a year to send lovely love letters, a nice soft and crunchy biscuits that we savor during Chinese New Year. This chain of love letters went on for more than 10 to 15 years, even after I left Reliance where we both lived separate lives –she in retirement and I as a Corporate Coach in my own company.
When many would have regarded me as irrelevant or of no use to them when I resigned from my position of power, this special lady still remembered me for what I am, and not what I could do for her.
Her tin of ‘love letters’ every year before CNY, were expression of a different kind of love- a special, close relationship, kindness and most of all, her gratitude for being her friend when I was her superior when she was a tour manager then. Somehow, she would get it delivered every year, no matter what even though she was in Melaka when I was in Kuala Lumpur. On one occasion, she even took the trouble to attend my birthday here when she was not in the best state of health.
Last week, Swee Choo left us at the age of 77. She may be gone, but her humility, kindness and gratitude will forever be etched in my heart, not only me, but my family and the hundreds of people and fellow tour managers who had a chance to experience her special friendship.
Like it is said, we all have friends or acquaintances, but very few true friends. Swee Choo is definitely one of the few in my world. Indeed, it is so hard to find genuine friends like her. We all have our hard way of finding out, knowing who is still around you when you are down or when you are of no use to them.
Only true friends stay with you through thick and thin. They have no expectations on others; only memories that never left them no matter for how long. No wonder, she was a star when she was with her passengers on her Europe tours. They adored her for her demeanor and most of her, her down-to-earth simplicity, and heart of gold.
May the Lord always protect her in His arms …. and I am looking forward to meeting you, Swee Choo, again when my time comes.