Oct 2, 2011
Because He Lives (Christian Hymn)
How long do one grieve over the loss of some one dear to them? A week, a month or many years? I really don't know. My best friend, my mentor, my teacher has passed away recently. She is none other than Sister Seok Buay, the one and only person I started Kitchen Capers for. I think you must read for so long that I often talked about Seok Buay and about Kitchen Capers.
But let me write about this again. For one last time.
I created Kitchen Capers a few years after Boon's untimely death. Leaving Seok Buay and Kim San behind, weeping for him. Seok Buay seems to take forever to heal. She was often resentful of things around her and highly defensive when someone spoke of Boon.
One thing I never told anyone was why I started baking. I started to bake soon after Boon's passing. Because Seok Buay loves to bake. Buay took time away from her home, to stay away from Boon's room and his things. And she would take up a baking course in France at the famous Le Cordon Bleu. And she would come back after a few weeks and tell me of her adventures there. Seeing her so joyful, it makes me happy for her.
Then it became my personal goal in life to help her to cope with Boon's passing. I refitted my home with a baking cabinet. I would seek for Buay's advice on how to bake. In time, I pick up website design and met Prashant Patel with whom I learnt website design from. Then I started Kitchen Capers forum as a hobby site to share recipes on cooking and baking. Mainly because I was also learning..and I wanted Buay to find new hope, new purpose in life. As she was totally illiterate in computers, emails or the Internet.
I would go to her house, and suggested that she cook something she likes and to share the recipe online at the forum. In these early days in the year 2004, I started cooking, baking and documenting every recipe she had in her mind. And as she cooks, she talks and laughs at the same time. The food she serves are of course delicious..and knowing her, the love and joy in every dish she prepares can be savoured and enjoyed to the last bite.
With the popularity of social networking aka Facebook, a fellow church member wrote to me to say that Seok Buay has passed away on the 28th September 2011. I was totally in shock, because I knew she was fit as a fiddle. She was happy with life and with Kim San. Despite not having Boon around, she found joy and happiness in the things she does everyday. She found comfort reading the scriptures and peace from God whenever she prays.
And everytime when I know that she is going away to a country to serve the community, I would bake all the things she loved to eat. And that would be the signature Chocolate Walnut cookie I created for her. And she said once to me :
"Gina, wherever I am, I know you think of me. Eating this, knowing you, that's a blessing God gave to me and only to me alone"
I never share this recipe online or anywhere. It was a cookie I created just for Buay. A cookie to remind me of how much I loved her and respected her all the years she taught me to bake, to cook. She taught me to be bold, to be daring. To try out new things and not be afraid to accept failures. She would tell me about Boon and how she would teach him the same values too.
In so many ways, I know myself. I know I would not have dare to venture beyond. Not with Kitchen Capers. I mean, I started my career in computers. I taught computer programming, desktop publishing..not cooking or baking. Buay gave me so much hope which I thought I was giving to her instead.
I attended her wake on Friday, 30 September 2011..I walked and met Kim San, and I just couldn't control myself. I cried in his arms, holding Kim San tightly. And Kim San wept with me. For a moment, I could have swear the world stood still..with Kim San and I locked in each other's arms, in tears and crying out to each other.
The last time this happened, it was at Boon's funeral wake. And I was there, in the same position but it was with Buay in my arms, letting her cry her heart out to me. I had to take a day's leave from the office. I told my boss why..and he just sign my leave form and ask me to go.
Kim San told me that he blamed himself for Buay's sudden death. She was swimming in a private pool in a swimming club. Somehow, something happened..she drowned and no one came to her aid. Until minutes later, they tried to resuscitated her. By the time the ambulance came, she was pronounced dead.
Her body lied in the hospital for a day to find out the cause of death. And he said to me :
"Buay never goes swimming without me. We go together. Every day, we do things together. Going for breakfast, going for morning walks or even just to shop at the nearby market. We would be there for each other.." and then he went silent..and I could see tears forming in his eyes. I put my arms around him and try to comfort my friend.
And then he said :
"She would tell me how much she loved me. And she would openly hug me and kissed me in front of everyone." and then he smiled and continue to say
"But that is not allowed in our society. People think we are crazy"
and then I said :
"No, you are not crazy. To love and be loved is the greatest gift and to show it openly, that's pride. And that's what God intended us to do. To love and be loved...in each and every way we can."
When I left the wake, I thought to myself..okay, life goes on. Back to the office, there's work to be done. Get a hold of yourself..
But when the day ends, and all is quiet, I couldn't help but think of Buay again. When I went online at Facebook, there was a little app I had that says "What God wants you to know" and l click it to see what was the verse for the day. When I read it, I cried again.
And I shared my notes with what was given to me :
"On this day, God wants you to know
... that sometimes it may feel too hard to do it alone. Sometimes it may seem like you can't figure it out by yourself. Sometimes will and strength and courage are not enough. Sometimes in your life you will need to call out for help. Call on God. God will be there."
My response to that was :
Dear God, I have a friend who is going up there to meet you. Please see her at the gates and hold her hand and show her around your place. And when its time for me to see her, ask her to come and meet me at the gates. Tell her how much I am so gonna missed her here. And her name is Seok Buay.
So to all who know me..and knows me for Kitchen Capers..
Live and love life to the fullest each day. Tell the people you loved how much you loved him/her or them. Even if its a pet. Live like there is no tomorrow. For tomorrow may never come. At least you get to say your goodbyes, your expressions and your admiration for that person.
I know I have grieved for many, but Seok Buay will always be that special someone I hold dear to my heart, someone I loved till the end of time. And when I go up there, I know she will be at the gates. Waiting for me. Waiting to show me all the new things up there. Like she always have whenever she sees something new.
Till then, Sister Seok Buay, wait for me. Wait for me.