One of my childhood friend's mother passed away yesterday morning after living patiently with Parkinson's for the past 12-13 years. I was blessed to have known her as my English teacher in Standard 6. My friend, Ann Marie, was my classmate from Standard 2 right up to Form 5 and we became very close friends, together with a few other girls in our class. Till today, 23 years after leaving Form 5, we are all still in touch with each other.
Ann Marie's mum, Mrs Chandy, was a good English teacher. She made learning English interesting. I remember her as firm yet patient. She helped us put up a Hansel and Gretel play for our year-end concert and was one of the teachers who guided me, Ann Marie and another two girls when we participated in the inter-school choral recitation competition. She was also very kind and always gave me and a few other girls (Siew Lin and Elaine) a lift to school together with Ann Marie when we had extra-curricular activities. I also got a ride from her for piano lessons when Ann Marie and I shared the same teacher when we were in secondary school.
After Form 5, Ann Marie's family moved to their hometown in Klang. We still kept in touch and wrote to each other. Mrs Chandy continued teaching. Over the years after she was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease (PD), Mrs Chandy continued resolutely to live life as normally as she could. Even as PD 'progressed', she travelled overseas for holidays, wrote an autobiography, and visited me at my new apartment nine years ago with Ann Marie and her two kids. She even attended my wedding and visited me when Caitlin was born.
In the recent years, her mobility became limited and a few friends and I would visit her occasionally. I visited her and Ann Marie a bit more often in the past few months when her condition deteriorated. Although she could not move or talk, I could tell she still had that kind and motherly nature in her, especially when she responded to Caitlin asking her how she was.
Today, Mrs Chandy will be on her final journey home to be with the Lord. May God welcome her into His arms and reward her for her patience and perseverance with PD, and for being the wonderful person and teacher she was here on Earth. I'm sure many of us who were privileged to have known her have been touched by her one way or another.