Today, I received news that my friend from KL, KPF’s mother had passed away suddenly. Since I’m going up to KL tonight, I’ve been making arrangement to go to her wake. She was my colleague from ICI days and we have kept in close contact over the years, seeing each other through the birth of our sons and the loss of her baby.
Among the girls from ICI, there was another girl, A, from Singapore whom KPF and I used to be closed to. She left ICI to start her own chemical company and we maintained the friendship. In 2006, A was from suffering from a difficult second pregnancy and requested my help to run her business. We treasured our friendship so much that prior to my joining her, she even had us consult a geomancer to determine if my working for her would harm our friendship, since many who had worked for her had broken ties with her.
It was a difficult 9 months working for her. Even though we had worked together in ICI for three years, I was not prepared for the way she treated her staff, clients, suppliers and everyone in general. If she did not get her way, she threw tentrums. If something went wrong, which happens alot in the contruction industries, her first reaction was to point fingers and cast blame, although I was never treated that way. It was a torture going to work and witnessing all the bullying, and then come home to see the same treatment my mother gave to the Myanmese maid then. I felt like a peace maker, trying to undo the harms to improve staff morales in the office, and then come home to comfort my crying maid.
Finally, when she returned from her maternity leave, I tendered in my resignation. My grandma’s stroke and my sister’s arrival for her birth were not excuses, but nevertheless provided reasons for my leaving.
Before I left, I gave her a pep talk, uncomfortable, but sincerely from a friend to another. She was not happy with my criticism and judgements and tried to defend herself. We part on a sour note and did not bother to reconnect. I felt this was a friend I could lose, since we did not share the same values. Even so, I missed her phone calls and the occasional meals we shared.
Since that episode, I have evaluated the relationships in my life. Many friends I kept because of a shared history but the really good friends are ones that nurture and make us grow into a better person. I want to have that kind of friends and hope that I have been that for my friends as well.
Today, I text A to tell her KPF’s mom had passed away and that I’m going to her wake. She asked that I help her give a token. I told her I expect her to pay me back the money and she replied to meet for lunch next week.
I don’t know if I want to.