Sunday, 17 April 2011

A Final Letter to A Dear Friend

Louis Michael Sellier

16th Feb 1937 - 16th March 2011

Dear Louis,

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?


Cat-from-Sydney said...


Guanaguanare said...

Covert, Thank you for this beautiful tribute.

My heart went out to you when you said this: "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”."

You are not alone, Covert. I was also one of Louis' "virtual" friends but "reality" is in the heart of the friendship and I can share your sorrow because our friendship with Louis was as real as the ones he had with those who had the fortune to actually shake his hand.

Covert, Louis honoured us by embracing us and he continues to do so. We will always carry him in our hearts.

I am including a link to your tribute with mine.


Unknown said...

Sad to hear this news. Louis was always your constant friend on this blog.

Pak Idrus said...

Ee Lynn, it was a great write-up of a good friend. You met him alright even though you both have not physically met, that is the only different. Cyberspace is real and it is as real as mother earth; which one is more real we just could only imagine and wonder. Ask this question 'What is reality?' then you would find that cyberspace and the mother earth is real in every sense of the word Real. The only different is that you have not shake Louis hand but you were already touches by his heart and to me that is more important than shaking one's hand.

There are so much loves in his writing and that is one reason I felt so close to him and Elena. I have met both of them in Seattle and they have been to Malaysia many times and at one time wanted to make Malaysia their second home but destiny defines the lives of these wonderful couple and they both left us only physically and in our heart they both are as alive as ever.

So what is reality! Take care.

Pat said...

I never met him either, E, but he was a dear friend, just the same.

I think this a wonderful tribute to him, and it describes him perfectly: he was indeed a gentle man, and a gentleman, and I will miss him dearly.

My inbox looks strangely empty these days, because there is nothing from him waiting there for me.

I hope, that one day, I will get a chance to finally meet him - in that place the two of us talked so much about!


~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Kitties-from-Sydney, Guanaguanare, Pak Idrus, Keats and Pat,
Thank you most kindly for understanding and empathising. Louis is a very good and very special friend, and his friendship means a lot to me. Nothing could be more real than his encouragement and support and friendship. Thank you for understanding that. And a special thank you to Guanaguanare for mentioning me in your beautiful and touching post.

Starmandala said...

I'm almost jealous, Ee Lynn. Promise you'll write an equally moving eulogy for me! Hugs & Kisses xoxox

Pak Zawi said...

Ee Lynn, thanks for the wonderful tribute. I can't say it any better. May Louis RIP and be by his Elena.

Anonymous said...

I am truly sorry for the loss of your friend. Just because you never met him in "real life" does not mean that he was not a "real" friend. Your tribute to him truly shows that.


~CovertOperations78~ said...

Antares, I do not want to think of losing any more of my friends. And this tribute to Louis is special because he IS special -- gentler, kinder, wiser, humbler and better than anyone else I have ever met and will ever eulogise.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Thank you, Abang Zawi, all of us agree unanimously that it is not only Louis' intelligence and gift for writing that makes him exceptional. It is his love and friendship that brought us closer to him. It is his patience, kindness, wisdom and gentleness that made us love him. And he has brought us all closer together, even for those of us who have known each other in blogsphere before we entered his circle and him, ours.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Colleen,
Thank you for your kind words. You always have a knack for coming over and offering comfort in my times of grief. Like Louis, you are a friend I made in cyberspace and have never met in person, yet our friendship is as real as anything can get. Thanks again. I hope I can be as good a friend to you.

Unknown said...

Ee Lyn,

Such a lovely eulogy for Dad; thank you. Your moving, elegant words provide solace and balm to his family in this time of grief. Please know that Dad treasured his friendship with you more than any material possession.


Micheal Belayudam said...

This is one of the best letter i have seen about friendship.

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~CovertOperations78~ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~CovertOperations78~ said...

Thank you for coming by, dear Lise, for offering your friendship as readily as your Dad did, and for extending words of comfort when I know you and your family must still be in so much grief yourselves. The last 4 months must have been terrible for all of you. I will try to be strong, for Louis' sake. I will post photos after I have managed to plant the Elena and Louis Trees.

Ellen Whyte said...

How sad. But a good letter as always, Ee Lynn.