More than 10 years ago, when I moved from Denmark to Ireland, I started studying with a group of people from all over the world. One of them was a sweet, tiny Chinese woman, 20+ years older than me. She was the sweetest, kindest, most caring person and never had a bad word to say about anybody. Studying wasn’t that easy for her, and myself and the others on the team did what we could to help her out.

After we all graduated, we kinda went our separate ways. I didn’t see her for long periods of time, though we were still living in the same town. But once in a while she would message me, or we would randomly bump into each other and we would arrange to meet up and catch up. She was always quite traditional in her views and ways, so she would first ask me how I was and second, ask me if I had a boyfriend. And if I said ‘no’, she would ask ‘why not?’ – she just couldn’t understand why I wasn’t already married and why I don’t want kids haha. But that was just her ways. She was always so motherly and protective and wished everyone the best.

I have seen her on and off over the years. Last time I saw her was end of September this year. We went out for late lunch and had pizza. She seemed so happy and in great form. Not that she hasn’t seemed happy before, but I just noticed that she seemed to be in a really good space. She had recently come back from a visit to Hong Kong (where she was from) and she was talking about how hard she was finding all the unrest there. It was the first time that she was really vulnerable with me, and it was a new side of her. But apart from that, she seemed like she was really well and happy.

We left each other with a big hug and a promise to try and catch up again in November, before I went on my Christmas holidays to Denmark (and Spain in January). I messaged her mid-November but didn’t hear back from her. I didn’t really think much about it. Thought that she was probably just busy and had other things going on, which is totally fine. I went away on my trip and thought I’d message her again for Christmas to check in.

Late last night I saw that I had received a message from her. I was going to read it and then just get back to her this morning, as it was late but, it wasn’t from her at all. It was from her husband. He told me that she passed away Wednesday morning. 

You know that sense of time standing still? I read the message several times, but it just doesn’t seem to make sense at all. How? What? Huh?? How can someone that you know and love just be gone like that? I mean, of course, I know how and that is life but… I just still can’t get my head or heart around it at all….

I am not sure what happened yet. I don’t know if she was ill for a while or passed away suddenly. I don’t know if her son managed to come home in time to see her or not. But I know that her son, her husband, her sister and brother-in-law, and rest of the family, must be absolutely heartbroken. She was simply such a sweet, loving woman. And I simply can’t understand that she is gone.

Since I am travelling at the moment, I won’t be there for the funeral. But I will visit her grave when I get back. It’s honestly so surreal still…. I was in shock last night. Had quite a restless sleep and woke this morning thinking that it might all have just been a weird dream. But no, it wasn’t…It’s real…

It’s so odd how life can change in a second. And put everything into perspective.

Remember that life is short…Remember that Life is precious.

Remember to tell your loved ones that you love them.

Remember to follow your heart and do the things you want to do.

Remember to choose love over everything.

Remember to fully be in this world and in your life.

Rest in peace sweet Sandra 💕

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