Sunday, 17 April 2011
A Final Letter to A Dear Friend
Louis Michael Sellier
16th Feb 1937 - 16th March 2011
I trust this letter finds you well and in the company of your beloved Elena. I don’t know what your beliefs on the afterlife are, but I do know that someone as good as you cannot die.
You left us exactly a month ago, Louis, and I didn’t find out until today. For that, I am racked with guilt. Forgive me, my friend. Right now my grief is so huge that it is choking me and crowding out every other concern in my mind. I have to wake up at 0500h tomorrow for a football match in Seremban, and right now I have a rescued kitten, Toby, screaming for attention in the kitchen and another rescued kitten, Oscar, who is outside in Bravo’s old cage wanting to come in but he is not allowed to because he is still under treatment for mange, but all my thoughts are filled with you.
I can’t share my sorrow with anyone else, Louis, because as far as others are concerned, I know you only through e-mail and our blogs, and therefore you aren’t a “real friend”. And your loved ones probably don’t know of my existence, or perceive me to be nothing more than another commenter in your blog, and therefore not important enough to be notified of your death. I don’t blame them for this, Louis. For who else could understand and appreciate how real our friendship is, and how much you mean to me?
How could I expect those who haven’t had the good fortune to have known you appreciate what a kind, gentle, considerate, intelligent and supportive friend you are to me as well as others, and how could they understand how much I looked up to you? I wish I could have told you when you were still alive how much I wanted to be as wise, insightful, compassionate and thoughtful as you, and how much I want my future marriage to be as full of love and strength as yours and Elena’s. No one could have understood how much your emails and your comments in my blog nourished me emotionally and encouraged me to do better. You never gushed or overpraised – you know I would have hated it and seen the insincerity in it, and besides, you couldn’t be dishonest or hypocritical if you tried. Your views were always balanced; always full of humility, kindness and empathy. In this troubled world of ours, where there is so much anger, hostility and self-righteous airing of opinions, I look up to you as someone who is fair-minded and principled.
The last time you wrote to me was on March 3, before you left for Arizona, and you had expressed your intention to come to Malaysia. I had told you of my plans to plant a tree for Elena and informed you that I have managed to secure a plot for Elena’s Tree in the Kota Damansara Community Forest, and you had requested to be there for the tree-planting ceremony. I had looked forward to your visit, and had planned to take leave from work so I could take you to all my favourite places during your visit.
Your silence since then had left me uneasy, but I had attributed it to you being on holiday and therefore away from your iPad and PC. It was not until Pak Idrus and Pat expressed the same uneasiness that we started asking other bloggers and netizens in earnest if they had any news of you.
I did think of you on March 16, Louis, but it was an optimistic thought, with no premonition of your passing. I had been having dinner at Vegelife Cafe with Vegan Eugene and other friends. It was a restaurant I had reviewed before, and you had described my review as “appetising”, and on March 16 I had thought of the dishes I would recommend to you when you came to Malaysia. I guess I won’t have the chance to buy you dinner anymore, will I?
I have never believed that relationships end with death, Louis, and I will never believe that you and I will not meet again. We will meet again, someday, and until then, I will do my best to keep your legacy of gentle wisdom alive.
So long, buddy. I will never forget you.
P/S: I guess I will be planting 2 trees now, instead of just one.
P/P/S: The next animal I rescue will be named Hopscotch, in your honour.
P/P/P/S: I know you will be watching me at football (i.e. soccer) tomorrow. Just don’t laugh when I fumble or screw up, okay?