I'll look at photo when I miss her

When asked what her favourite colour was, Charmaine Lim's reply would be yellow, green and pink.

Even though she liked yellow, she knew her mum favoured pink, while "kor kor" Jase, seven, liked green.

At Charmaine's wake, Ms Cynthia Lim, 31, was clad in pink. On her wrist, she wore a colourful beaded bracelet her daughter, who enjoyed handicrafts, made.

Her son, Jase, wore a green T-shirt.

Ms Lim had asked mourners to turn up at the wake in the multi-purpose hall at Block 110, Punggol Fields in the three colours to celebrate her daughter's life. And they did.

Even though they did not know the family personally, they were there because they had been following the girl's fight against cancer on the blog ourfeistyprincess.blogspot.com

One of them was Mr Hugh Lim, 41, a private investor, who found out about Charmaine through print and online media reports two years ago.

He was there with his 21/2-year-old daughter, Alyssa, who wore a pink dress.

He said he felt compelled to offer his condolences when he read about Charmaine's death. He lost his wife to cancer four months ago.

"At first, you see a girl who's just left the world and that is sad. But later on, you realise how much she'd been suffering, then you know she's in a better place now."

Also, having read how Jase had not handled his sister's death well - he cried the whole night after she died - Mr Lim bought a remote control car for the seven-year-old.

When asked why he bought the $400 toy for a child he did not know, he said simply: "You have to be concerned for the ones left behind."

As he left, he told The New Paper with a tender smile: "At least today, I made someone happy."

Last night, Jase occupied himself with his new gift. At one point, he turned and said: "I wish Char Char could have seen this."

A laminated photo of his sister is nestled in a small basket affixed to his bicycle parked nearby. Written on the photo were the words "Kor Kor's little angel forever".

It was a present from someone else who had also been following the blog.

"Mummy told me that I can look at this whenever I miss her," he explained.

Last night, Ms Lim said her son had asked her why his Char Char had died so young.

"I didn't know how to explain it at first," she confessed.

Eventually, she told him that some people, like Charmaine, were very special and she was probably needed somewhere else.

"I told him, 'She's gone to heaven now, and we will see her some day. And even if we cannot see her we can still talk to her.'"

Charmaine's small, cream-coloured coffin cut a sombre scene as mourners filed past to pay their respects. A single monk chanted in the background.

Lying on her chest was a handwritten note, "I love you Char Char, (heart) Jase", and a lock of her mother's hair was clenched in her small fist.

Explained Ms Lim quietly: "I cut off the lock so that my little girl would always have a piece of mummy."

The wake is on till tomorrow, when the cortege leaves for Mandai Crematorium at 3.45 pm.

benitaay@sph.com.sg

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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