My last post was all about me releasing things that were just excess baggage in my life, literally. I had to say goodbye to things that I know I worked really hard for to buy and own, and used with love they were. Many of those things I’m throwing out had many wonderful memories for me, like my kids clothes, souvenirs from our family trips and other knick knacks like birthday presents.
The day I wrote that post, the same afternoon, I received a tragic news. A dear friend who’s been battling with cancer for like the past ten years, have finally blown her last breath that morning. I was just teary that morning from feeling sad but high, about making spiritual space in my life for new things and experiences when this email hit me like a ton of bricks.
I shouldn’t feel this sad, considering that she wasn’t like my best friend or close family member but I did. I felt my legs almost giving way in the middle of a busy riding stable and the tears just started flowing rapidly. Another close friend from my life in the UK, L.H, who was the bearer of that sad news, had sent out an email a few days earlier, informing all friends of her deteriorating health and if we wanted to visit, we might consider hurrying up. My heart so desperately wanted to fly over to the UK but with my DH already living in Basel, Switzerland and with 3 kids at home, 2 of whom are in school, my mind won over my heart. Practical Ar’nie won over Impractical, Spontaneous Ar’nie.
This friend’s name was A’isya Pellew, born Phoebe Sarah Pellew. She was a Muslim convert due to her marriage to an Arab but I understood that her faith deepened only after they were divorced when her 2 boys were a few years old. We met at a fair in Farnham Maltings, another Singaporean friend and I. I really can’t remember for the life of me the circumstances of how we met but more importantly was that the connection was made. She was ever so friendly, with life and energy in every single cell of her body.
I found out that she was a double breast cancer survivor and that she’s been given the ‘death sentence’ by the doctors a few times but she said, she’s not ready yet to go. She was still going for therapy to keep it in check but boy, you just cannot tell with this woman! She was writing a book on the history of Prophet Muhammad’s wife, her namesake. She was always out and about and she was still wisecracking! When I asked her what her secret was to keeping her body and mind healthy, she told me that she will only eat fresh, organic meat and vegetables and always in season. Having enough rest but keeping the mind busy with learning new information was another tip.
I found out after I left the UK in 2008 that she was ill again. Over the next couple of years, the cancer started spreading again. Despite her best effort, it spread to her lungs, stomach and towards the end, to her bones. When I last visited her 2 years ago, she was physically half the A’isya I remembered. Her hair was falling out and her body was looking weaker but her mind was still sharp. She gave me resource books and had printed out information to help with my dream of writing my own book one day. She was still encouraging me to get going despite her own situation in a stall.
A’isya left behind 2 handsome sons and a beautiful granddaughter but to me, she left me an inspiration and her own legacy. I may be quite upset that I didn’t get to visit and hug her one last time but her death has also made me realised that she has meant quite a lot to me. Just by being who she was and talking the way she did, I have gained from her! Isn’t that what friendship is all about? Without actually taking physically, I’m receiving so much.
A’isya has taught me, more importantly, that whatever negative things life throws at you, you got to keep fighting it and never to give up easily. Even in the face of death, stay strong and positive. Now that’s a lesson all of us can learn from, no?
I declare that I release her from my yearnings of her company and her friendship to the Heavens above. May she be free from the pain of cancer and finally find peace with angels surrounding her. May she finally be the Goddess I think she is. Amen!