RIP Pia Roy, and thanks for the lessons in life
This morning, I bade farewell to an old friend at her KL memorial at The Canvas in Damansara Perdana.
I was lucky to have been in London last week as well to attend her funeral at the West London Crematorium. She was 33.
Like many things in life, you tend to take things and people for granted, and only make certain realisations when it’s too late. When I found out of her sudden passing a couple of weeks ago, I was upset that we never rescheduled our planned meeting late last year which had to be postponed because I wasn’t well.
Pia and I were terribly close in our teenage years. We spent a lot of time together, and back before mobile phones, spent hours on the phone chatting. Although we were young, and Pia was a year younger than me, she was always the more sensible, mature one. In that sense, she thought me many lessons in life which I still hold dear to me and I’m sure played a part in shaping who I am today.
In her death, Pia thought me one last lesson. She got me rethinking the idea of friendships at a time when I was dealing with leaving a life and bunch of amazing friends in London and returning to my old ones back home in Malaysia.
Those of you who know me would not be surprised at the fact that I have many friends. I don’t collect them consciously but I have encountered so many people in my life and I feel a connection with many of them. Like everyone else’s, my friendships with different people vary in intensity but a lot of it also has to do with periods in my life and interests at a certain point. Our lives tend to be dictated by time and space – often, it revolves around phases in time and geographical locations.
At a very young age, when I’d fall out with a friend for one reason or other, I would always go to my dad. Human connections are important to me, so when one falls apart, I get pretty emotional. Till this day, I often think of even people who I have met anonymously online over the years – wondering what they are doing now and where they are in their lives. I’ll never know the answer but it doesn’t stop me from thinking about them.
My dad’s respond to me was always very simple. He says that in life, you go through phases – school, work etc – and during those phases, we will encounter different people who will be important to us. But these phases, like the people in our lives, will come and they will go. I have always held this advice close my heart.
In Pia’s death, I am reminded of this. We have not been close in almost a decade. After leaving KL for a couple of years of studies in Australia, and then returning and starting my professional life, Pia and I saw little of each other. This was also a time before Facebook so it was harder to keep in touch.
Still, she kept tabs on me. Our last messages to each other was in November last year when I was feeling a little anxious about being done with studies and getting ready to return. She dropped me a message about the cryptic messages I was putting on my status, and if I was okay. That was when we planned to meet up which it didn’t happen.
The special people in your life may fleet in and out but we still care for each other. The last time I messaged her before that too was when she sounded troubled so I checked in on her.
Since we heard the news of her passing, I have been in touch with many people who had – and remain – special spots in my life although I haven’t seen them in many years, some in a couple of decades. These reconnections have been overwhelming and I’m not sure if it would have happened if not for this tragedy.
In her death, I am once again reminded of the wise advice my father had given me. In her death, I am reminded that I had such a special friend in my life – and many more. In her death, she taught me yet another lesson – always go through with your plans because you can never take time for granted.
It took such a sad event to remind me how much I miss her, and how grateful I am to have had her in my life. She was one of the special ones, and will remain that way in my heart and mind. I love you, Pia. Thanks and rest well.
11.42pm Malaysian time (+8 GMT)