Reminiscing memories of my partner, 1 year on
29 October 2016
Saturday morning spent here at the church. This is my second time at a church. The first time was during partner’s solemnisation ceremony. Today we are gathered here again, to be reminded of her.
Daniel and Joane picked me up from home at about 8.20 am. I am currently on medical leave from work due to a recent surgery I had to go through. Alhamdulilah I am better now and I can go out independently but I have yet to take the public transport on my own. My colleagues have been nothing but wonderful, and kept asking how I was doing. This year has been rough without partner, and having to deal with this ordeal and enduring pain was difficult. It seems like this entire year was filled with strings of unfortunate events and circumstances. Such is life, nothing is too predictable.
Some may ask me, “Afni how could you go to church when you are a muslim?” says the people with little knowledge about the religion. In Islam every action you do is defined by your ‘niat’ or intentions. My intentions were clear today. To visit partner’s niche and be reminded that death is always near to us. It is a reminder for me too, that we are here temporarily. It is an opportunity to mould humility into my heart, and sink this reality into my brain. Therefore, even though I am of a different faith, I saw no problems visiting the church. I hope more people learn the depth of the religion instead of jumping to conclusions. The world is full of ignorant individuals, please do not add more to it.
Furthermore, my partner often painstakingly ensure that all food catered and given as gifts are certified halal. She asked me all sorts of questions about halal because she wanted to bake or cook something from home. She learnt that buying and cooking halal food was not enough, the utensils had to be free from usage of non-halal meat. Due to that, she actually bought a set of utensils she would use whenever she wanted to share the food she prepared at home with me.
Why would someone of a different faith go through all these lengths for me? I don’t know. That was who she was. Full of consideration of others’ feelings and sensitive to the needs of others.
Reminded of all the things she loved. Food, definitely. We talked about food everyday. We were here only for a short while because it started to rain. We had agreed to have breakfast together after visiting partner’s niche.
Here at All Things Delicious at Bugis.
Pictures of food because I can almost hear partner’s voice telling me to take the photos of food because it looked so pretty.
If you are wondering why we are doing that ‘crazy’ pose, it is because partner has successfully influenced us all. Smiling at the camera was deemed boring and too mainstream lol.
My partner from work who left a year ago. I still can’t believe she is gone too soon. I clearly remembered the shock and grief that enveloped me last year. It took me a long time to pull myself together. I think time will never truly be able to erase the pain of losing someone close. I wanted to write a tribute to her then, but could not bring myself to do it.
If there is one thing that I have learnt from partner is, how and why we should take photos all the time. Before knowing her, I only took photos on special occasions like birthdays or holidays. However, my partner takes photos everyday. She takes photos of her food, her clothes, her favourite items and she would also take photos of herself. Frankly, I never knew how to selfie. She taught me how to angle the phone or camera so that it captures the best part of my face. Lol.
She also takes photos of the people around her. Her sister was kind enough to loan me her hard drive so that I could copy some work documents and continue her good work. I found out that she has been keeping every single photo we took from the first time we met. There were folders of photos of everything from special events at work and outings. Most photos are totally random and did not belong to any category so she kept it under ‘Misc’ folder. I realized one thing about her. She never delete any photos she took. Even if the photo is dark or blur. She kept everything. I was so shocked to see the thousands of photos she had in her hard drive.
In a way, this was a blessing because all the photos are so precious now. I am sure her family will keep this hard drive with care from now because this is the only way for her son to get to know her. I took 3 full days to copy all the photos related to work into my own laptop.
We have this unwritten rule at work. If we show up wearing the same colours, we need to take a photo together to capture this moment. Or if we are wearing the same themed outfit, somehow she always find a reason to take photos together and we willingly abide by her requests. Lol.
We were so used to taking photos together that even our official photos for the work portrayed how close we are.
I am so glad we took so many photos when we were together. There were thousands of photos of us together for the past 8 years. I wish I could upload them all here.
Now I look back at these photos with a smile and a tinge of sadness. I once asked why she took so many photos of everything. She said that this moment will soon pass and it may not reoccur so why not capture the memories! I asked her, “What if I look ugly today? Then all my photos will be ugly?”
“Then we will keep taking photos until you look pretty or are happy with your photo.” she answered.
This is why we have thousands of photos. Lol.
Last year after her passing, I received a request from someone who wanted me to take photos of her desk and her classroom. I did not know why it never occur to me to do this, perhaps I was too drowned in sadness, I could not think straight. I proceeded to do that.
In the past one year, I have continued her good work. I used her materials to do sharing for awareness and some for remediation sessions. I go through her folder everyday, and the more I go through, the more I learn about her thinking style. Her creativity always amazed me, I am thankful for the opportunity to work alongside someone creative and ambitious for the past 8 years. A lot of the major events we did would not have happened if she did not push me to do it. She was better with big scale planning while I look more into the details. She used my small idea (about doing an art exhibition to do awareness of special needs) and blew it up. We ended up doing it at national level. Our taste and style of work were completely different, but our passion was the same. Perhaps that was why we fit perfectly together.
Occasionally she still enters my dream, always smiling and giving me the assurance that I need. I appreciate all the times we worked together. I truly miss all the times she took secret photos of me. She would take many shots and let me choose which was the best to upload on social media. There is an entire folder of photos with my name! She was like my personal stalker lol.
On this date, we celebrate your fulfilling life and all the differences you have made in our lives. Thank you for all the wonderful memories, and the initiative to preserve those memories. 8 years of photos are now in my possession, something that I will always cherish. From now on, I shall do the same. I shall capture all the moments that made me smile a little wider, made me a little happier and made me appreciate life a little more. You will always scold me whenever I take too few photos right?
One day, all your children will have is pictures of you. Make sure you are in them. No matter what your hair looks like, your makeup or your body, they won’t care about any of that. They just want to see you.
RIP my partner. 1 year has passed and I do not miss you any lesser.