I sat there. Overwhelmed by thoughts and emotions. How could this happen? Pinch me. Say it’s not so. My cousin, only in her thirties is no longer with us. Just married, with a young daughter. A beautiful chapter of her life, only to be abruptly taken away by a sudden heart attack.

I write this with a heavy heart, a lump in my throat and tears burning behind my eyes. My teeth are clenched. I played with this girl when we were children. Locking doors, hiding, running. We shared meals at the kids table during family gatherings and Chinese festivities. Then we all grew up. We stopped having traditional family gatherings when our grandmother passed. We didn’t see each other often, but knew we were all ok. As time passed, we entered a different phase in our lives. Married. Career. Children. I last saw Patti when she came out for dinner at a Chinese restaurant in 2007 and we got to catch up. I thought at that time, how wonderful it was to see her. We were all grown up. We smiled, we laughed, we were young ladies. How time had passed and it seemed like catching up with a dear old friend. Time lapsed. We never saw each other since.

Now she’s gone. No time to prepare, to finish things, to say goodbye. I can’t imagine how her husband, daughter, sisters or her father feel. To be a young widow, lose your mother suddenly, a missing link of sister circle, or outliving your child. I’m sad, angry, cannot comprehend.

I am still. I breathe. I pray. Then I read a post from her little sister. A sentiment. Absence makes the heart grow fonder she says. She says Patti’s passing is not a tragic love story. Yes, it’s tough. However, the next chapter of her love story still goes on in her daughter, Catherine… The love she brought and the lives she touched is the happily ever after. Another chapter begins.

As the new chapter begins, Patti will live in her daughter, her sisters, the lives she touched. Physically, she is not here. Spiritually, she lives on. Her essence, her legacy, her love. I’m overwhelmed by this sentiment, but I realize, it’s more…

“Love is not a mere sentiment.
Love is the ultimate truth at the heart of creation.”
– Rabindranath Tagore

Happily ever after. Let her love surround her family like a warm embrace during times they need it the most. Patti, I wish we got to see each other more often. I’ll cherish the times we shared. May you be safe in the arms of your Mother in heaven.

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