3rd June 1961…

3rd June is an important date as that was the date that Mom, Florence Yip was born. Therefore tomorrow would have been her 60th Birthday. Usually, I would send her flowers, get her a gift and treat her to a nice meal with cake of course. This is the first year that we haven’t been able to celebrate her Big Day. It’s been almost 6 months since she left us and not a day goes by without us missing her. We can’t visit her tomorrow because the current FMCO (Lockdown). I’ve made her Rose scented beeswax candle for her. Will have to wait until the lockdown is lifted till we could go visit her. Mom, we didn’t forget your birthday. I hope that you know that.

Mom grew up poor in Ipoh. She was the 5th child to my grandparents, She was the youngest and the cheekiest on top of things as she got my grandfather wrapped around her finger. She was the only one who was sent to an English Convent for her school education. I remember Mom telling me that after her dad passed when she was 12yrs old, she started working part-time after school hours to give money to her mother. She worked as a seamstress and also tutored. Prior to her dad passing away, the family ran a canteen business at the army camp. She even had a pet pig at one point in time.

Despite her circumstances, Mom was an extrovert that loved helping people. She was also very active in sports and represented her school in Volley Ball. Mom was well known as being a social butterfly. I’m pretty sure I got that trade from her. The ability to make friends just instantly. My Mom was always surrounded by her group of girlfriends that she kept in touch all these years. People are naturally drawn by my Mom’s energy. She’s always been very bubbly and her smile is infectious.

Before Mom met dad when she was 18. She was working at a car battery shop and dad saw her walking past daily during lunch break as at that time, dad was a site supervisor and he was high up and saw her. My dad then decided to ask around to find out who Mom was. Eventually, he learned where she worked and he decided to write her a letter. That was how my Mom and dad met and the rest was history.

My Mom always had a huge heart when it came to people and she would never think twice in helping out those in need, I guess she developed this compassion for people because she had nothing growing up. That’s another reason why she taught me to be charitable since I was young and that we should share. Friends and neighbours and family nevertheless loved Mom because she was very friendly and she would always be there for you. Mom was never selfish but always giving. She never demanded for anything but, dad pampered her because she deserved everything in the world.

Dad took good care of Mom from the day he met her until her last breath. He made her quit her job to start a family with him and supported her financially. My dad definitely is 1 in a million. Also, when Mom was bedridden during her last 6 months on earth, dad did everything to look after her. He fed her, changed her diapers and cleaned her while he slept on the floor beside her. It made Mom very sad but if that’s not proof that true love exists, what is? Will I ever be lucky to find love like that?

XoXo, VA

Conversations I Need To Have…

I have been running my own company since 2017. I remember how worried I was and how badly I wanted a partner to do it with me. Back then, it was my ex that I thought would be in it with me but, he hated commitment and he talked me into doing it by myself. So, that was how I became the solo Founder/CEO/Director/Business Owner. I’ve definitely learned, struggled and succeeded by myself through the years. Doing it all alone is definitely not easy as you are both the Boss and also the Worker plus you have to deal and handle everything from A to Z of the business but, that being said; when things don’t workout, you learn from it and you only have your own to reflect or blame for it. Though when you succeed, the taste of victory never tasted so good.

I’m starting to look at my life and realized that since I was young, I was taught to be independent from a very young age. Many might say, “That can’t be true since you’re the only child. Am sure your parents spoilt you rotten…” Reality with the Yip-Atkinson upbringing was, if you wanted something you’ll have to earn it. We’re not going to just give it to you. My parents worked hard themselves to build what they have today – the properties, the cars and the lifestyle. I’m thankful that my parents taught me the meaning of the word, “No”. That was a word that I heard often growing up. When I asked for my first pair of Black Basketball LA Gears with Red LED light at the heel. They flash with each step you take. I remember I waited really long to get that pair of kicks when I was 8. I also remembered that I had to make sure I got straight A’s and behaved well for a really long period but, when my parents finally got them for me, Boy!! I was over the moon and I cherished every step that I took in them.

I truly owe a lot to my parents. The love and patience they had with me growing up. I wasn’t crazy naughty or a trouble maker and I definitely was a good student in school that got good grades and was athletic as I enjoyed playing sports but, that being said I did go through the famous rebellious stage during my teenage years. I remember how I just didn’t want to be in photos and if I was, I’d be displaying RBF (Resting Bitch Face).

If I could turn back time or visit Young Valerie, what would I tell her? I think I would say this, “Life will get better with time. You will work in many companies but, the role that taught you the most and groomed you the most would be the role you had as A Business Development Executive/PA to your Director. That would be the most stressful job you’ll ever experience but, you also learned the most with all the projects and responsibilities that your director put on your shoulders. That being said, if it’s possible to change your career path, you should get into Recruitment once you graduate from College as you’ll make tonnes of money from it compared to the rest of the jobs. Also, control your shopping habit and safe more money and invest your money wisely. You will meet many interesting people along the way and you will get your heartbroken countless times. It may hurt a lot when it happens especially the break up that happened in 2013 that took the longest to get over and heal. 5 years to be exact but, that’s alright because it only meant that you were truly inlove and that it mattered. Because of that, you turned into a workaholic to mend and guard your heart. You will meet someone great in 2018 and it would feel like he’s your soulmate. You will later get engaged and married but, you will not get the happy ending you always wanted. He will break your heart and shatter your dreams but, you will not hate or blame him because he gave you happiness once and also because he proved to you that someone wanted you to be their wife and he also gave Mom the opportunity to see you get married in 2019 before she got really sick in 2020. 2020 will be tough for everyone because a pandemic would hit the world. Mom’s health will start deteriorating in mid 2020 because her cancer would have spread rapidly and she would lose the battle she fought so hard for 5 years. To prevent this from happening, make sure Mom gets her yearly check ups and screen for cancer in 2013/2014, You might be able to change the course of her history and safe her because losing her in December 2020 will leave you devastated and ever so lonely than you already are. The pandemic will still be around in 2021 and life would be very different from what you’re used to now but, you will meet many new people this year and you’ll learn who’s your true, real friends when you need them the most. You might eventually meet someone special to. Just don’t overthink things and just go with the flow. You’re such a thinker Dear Valerie that sometimes you worry over nothing. You will be okay at the end of the day. You have to be because you are Valerie Atkinson!!…”

XoXo, VA

Tribute Ink…

Most of you may know that I was very close to my Mom. We used to chat and talk to each other on a daily basis. We had disagreements of course but, we still love each other nevertheless. That’s what unconditional love truly is. One will learn to know the meaning of unconditional love when you have children. That being said when she left us on the 18th of December 2020, she took a huge part of me with her. I know that she hated it when I got inked but, I decided to get a tribute piece for her because I wanted to always have a piece of her with me and also as most of us know, getting an inked esp. a huge piece can be painful. The pain of getting a tattoo done to me has some form of therapeutic “treatment” to it. It still can’t compare to the pain of losing someone you love so dear for sure.

The session with Apoh, my tattoo artist was 3hrs this round and she will complete it by filling in the colours on my Mom’s birthday this year. This is the first piece ever that I needed 2 sessions to complete but, the diamond part of the piece is definitely intricate and it took alot of focus and time. She even took about an hour plus just to redraw things to make it right before she made the stencil for it.

Was it painful? Yes, it was but pain in a good way though. I know that not many people enjoy pain but, for me sometimes, feeling pain is a good thing because it reminds you that it’s real and that you’re still breathing. Btw, I love that Apoh was patient enough to make the piece awesome and that she leap out of her comfort zone to make something so beautiful. You can check her work out at: http://www.instagram.com/apohapoh

XoXo, VA

Dearest Mom…

Dearest Mom,

If you could hear me or read this. This is for you. It’s been slightly over a month since you’ve left us. A day doesn’t go by without me thinking about you, missing you and our time together. I miss our daily conversations about almost anything under the sun. Honestly, somedays I still secretly hope that this was all just a dream, a bad dream that I’ll wake up from and you’ll still be here, healthy and doing well. I know that’s me being in denial about things.

I’m sorry for my breakdowns and tears. I can’t control them as much as I hate crying. You know I’ve never cried in public and always only cried when I was alone. But, you saw me crying a week before you left and you told me, “Don’t cry, don’t cry…” while you laid there in your hospital bed holding onto my hand. That was our last conversation we had before you stopped talking and laid there asleep for the balance of your numbered days.

This was the last pic we took together while we waited for the first MCO announcement last year. You insisted we took this wefie. 🙂

To be honest, I regretted not cutting your nails for you 2 days before you left us, I really wanted to but, I forgot to bring the nail clipper to the hospital. I know your whole life you were very particular about your hair and your nails. I hope you’re not mad at me for not grooming your nails one last time. It makes me cry when I think that I failed to give you the best when I could have.

Also, I’m sorry that there were days when I just didn’t know what to say or do to make you feel better. I felt so lost and confuse when I saw you in the condition that you were in. But, I’m sure that your situation was tough to for you.

I know we have our differences and our bad days before your situation got bad but, we surely had our good moments and days where we laugh so hard and we were one happy family. You were always there with your hand out for me when I fell down. You scolded, nagged me but, forgave me and accepted me for my weaknesses as any good mother would do. Thank you for always being there for me, loving me unconditionally and making me the lady that I am today. I know when you’re mad at me, you used to say, “You failed as a mother…”. I want to tell you that you did not. You were a good mother that anyone would be lucky to call, “Mommy”. I was lucky enough to have you in my life and I wouldn’t changed it for anything but, only wished that you had a long life because there is so many more things that I wish I could have done for you.

I love you Mommy and I hope that someday you’ll give me a sign that you’re doing well and that we’ll meet again someday.

XoXo, VAS