Some people you remember for life, some people only in passing. Some leave their marks, some barely leave footprints.

Some are gone too soon.

The last time I saw her, it was at a wedding. Mine, in fact. She came, despite telling me directly that she didn’t want to come most of the time. If she went to one and not the other, what would she say to the other? I could only imagine the number of invitations she had gotten, week after week, year after year. And it weren’t only weddings—there were birthday parties too, countless of them. How could she choose between one child and another?

Nevertheless, she came to mine. I talked to her perhaps less than a minute, then took a picture with her.

I hope she knew how much it meant for me for her to be there.

The second last time we met, it was at a school. It was my old high school, in fact, which I had graduated seven years earlier.

I still visited the school, every few years or so, whenever I was home and had the chance, although that chance was getting lower, and lower, every year. Most of my closest teachers had moved on from there. And now, with her gone, I wasn’t sure if there was any left, who would smile when they saw me entering the teacher’s room, calling my name, giving me the biggest hug.

She always did.

She lighted up when she saw me. She asked me how I was doing, and I asked her the same. She commented, like every other time I visited, that I was the one (among many) that dropped her class for the pursuit of grades, despite clearly really loving the lesson. I always laughed, because it was true.

That time, I told her about my book, and I pointed to her that the bookmark was left on that chapter on purpose.

I mentioned something about you.

She told me that she would read it, but I never knew, because in the end, I never asked what her thoughts were. The book was my life story after high school. Would she believe that I had finally made the right choice? I wondered now, because for years, she knew that I wasn’t walking my own path.

I’m getting married, I told her that day.

She smiled again, and she was truly happy for me, before asking what my plan for family was. I did tell her, and she was annoyed, telling me not to wait (that long), because I think she understood that having children is just a wonderful, wonderful gift, and she had hoped she could have had hers sooner.

To have more time with them.

She was 52, and gone too soon.

In memoriam
Dr. Ireng Ambarsari