The first time i met Eve was on my first day at work in the Intel Singapore office in July of 2006. I had just been transferred from Intel India and was getting to know the team in Singapore. I distinctly remember meeting Eve, because i remember thinking to myself wow this woman has a strong loud voice. To be honest I was a bit intimidated by her at the start but it didn’t take me long to figure out that behind that strong voice was a very warm and helpful human being. The initial few months in Singapore was not easy as i didn’t have many friends here but Eve changed all that. Within a few months Evelyn became one of my closest friends in Singapore. She totally became my ‘Go To’ person for anything i needed to know about this new city that i had just moved into. Many years later she  joked about it, that how she had become my yellow pages and that i kept giving her random calls asking her about where to shop or which bus should i take home. My favorite one was when i called her to educate me on what type of bed sheet i should buy and what the thread count on the packaging actually meant. So when i needed info on something i didn’t Google it but i just Evelyn’d it. Evelyn just loved to help people, i remember how she accompanied me to shop for gifts for my family when i planned my first trip back to Mumbai, she knew how important that was for me and she knew i needed help. She just was always in the know of things and she had this cute pouch of cards that she carried everywhere which had discount or membership cards to every possible retail business in Singapore. She used to boast to me “Tell me the retail shop or mall and i will have the discount or membership card”, and that was so true because she never lost the bet once. A few years later we formed this group of friends that use to hang out together and celebrate each others birthdays and more often than not she would own the logistics of choosing the restaurant, making reservations, buying the joint gift – she was such a natural leader here and was always wanting to serve her friends. And whenever we hung out she had this loud infectious laugh. I used to always pull her leg and ask her – “how is your Power Rangers thingy going?” And that used to always crack her up. I can still hear her say – “So bad ah you, it’s Royal Rangers not Power Rangers, how many times do i have to tell you”. Right from the start Evelyn came across as a person who loved God and when she found out that my girlfriend (now wife) had convinced me to go to church, i knew she was the happiest. Many years later during my many hospital visits she told me “Nothing makes her happier than people finding peace in God”. After 5 years of courtship when me and my girlfriend decided to get married, without any prompting Eve came to me and said “Mr. Wadia, i am going to be your wedding planner”. And i agreed because i knew if Eve did it, it would be executed flawlessly. She just had this amazing eye for detail that would make the best of the wedding planners envious. Unfortunately in November 2011, just 4 months before our wedding, the hope of having Eve plan our wedding was shattered. I remember sitting in her NUH room with 2 other friends when she broke the news to us. Its was the first time i saw Eve cry and i think its the first time that she saw us cry. I just couldn’t believe my ears, how could this young energetic, spiritual woman who was constantly disciplined about her health get cancer. It seemed so damn unfair. But not once and i say it again – not once did she blame God or anyone else for her ailment. Her attitude was always positive and she wanted to fight this dreaded disease with what she knew best – Her Faith in Jesus. Evelyn being the awesome friend that she was did make it to our wedding in March 2012 and when Christina and me were in midst of our march out song, i walked up to Evelyn and hugged her and asked God to heal her. I thought since its my wedding day, maybe God would grant me one wish, but it didn’t come to pass.  Over the 18 months whenever she was admitted to NUH i tried my best to visit her at least once every time she was admitted. It was probably the best time investment i had ever made,  i truly treasure each and every conversation we had about life, faith, challenges and the people we love. It was as if i was getting ministered in every conversation on dealing with life’s challenges. May 14th was the last time i saw Eve in her NUH room and the last message response i received from her was on 17th May. I knew when i last met her that she was worried but she still kept a strong positive front. When i received the news of her passing away on Friday 24th May i was in Manila for a business meeting. I was totally shocked and heart broken, i just had this belief that Evelyn will pull through this. Reading through all her messages on whatsapp again again, it just didn’t sink in that she was gone. A person like her doesn’t come so often, her wake and funeral turnout bears testament to the fact that she made a difference to the lives of many people, including me.

5535_118338852399_8191613_nEvelyn, As grief overpowers and sinks my heart into the abyss. I am reminded that even the abyss can’t drown away the memories of your laughter, your warmth and your friendship. Though the flesh is mortal, your memory will be everlasting for many lives you have touched. Evelyn you have been a great friend and my constant source of inspiration. You will be dearly missed.

My final thoughts and prayers are with the immediate family that has lost a lovely daughter, sister, sister-in-law and an aunt.  It must be really hard to bear this loss but i hope you can take comfort that she is now home with the Lord.

 

 

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10 Responses to The fabulous Evelyn Leong

  1. Alexei says:

    Very well said, Jamshed. Its amazing how much Evelyn did for everyone of us. God bless her

  2. Sylvester Rodrigues says:

    At the out set heartfelt condolences . Indeed touching,very well written and yes it did bring tears to my eyes too. We pray and hope that God gives you,rest of Eve’s friends & family the strength to over come this personal loss… RIP Eve !!!

  3. Sunita says:

    Hi, I have often seen people who are very sweet – have gem of a heart actually suffer the most….my question is Why ????.

  4. debbie chiu says:

    it’s really a heart borken to everyone who knew Evelyn. She is a amazing woman with positive attitude, happy smiling, energetic spirit and cares others. Despite of thousands miles away from her, I still can feel her spiritual to live postively and how strong she fight for cancer. Now, she is at home of God. She is not leaving us forever but go earlier to heaven where is no pains and full of happiness. Love and Miss her forever!

  5. Emily says:

    I’m so devastated to hear this. I was in Evelyn’s online support group which I left around the time she announced her relapse 🙁 I was googling around to see if I could find out how she went with further treatment. I am so saddened by this and my heart goes out to her family and friends. Xxx

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