Friday, September 28, 2012

Sally Cheong : Still Missed, Always Loved

EDIT: I wrote this post yesterday, scheduled to go live today, before the tragic discovery of Miss Meagher's body.  I almost decided not to go ahead with posting this, and I hope you don't think it is in bad taste because that it my very last intention, but I decided that the horrible discovery only highlights more than ever how absolutely serious these cases are.  

When I found out the news this morning, I bawled my eyes out. I cried for Jill, I cried for my dear friend, I cried for those tragically lost and found under terrible circumstances, I cried for those never to be seen again, I cried for the families of victims and the families who would never get to discover the fate of their loved ones, and I will admit I cried for my own pain over the years. Please don't think I'm trying to take away from the tragedy that has happened; but there are so many more cases like this one, and they all deserve a voice too and there are so many families seeking resolution.  

RIP Jill Meagher.  I didn't know you, but your story was very close to my heart, and I wished and hoped for your safety. I hope you're in a better place now, where no one can harm you ever again.

There has been a recent media frenzy lately about the disappearance of Jill Meagher.  It's been so terrible hearing all of the news.  All the attention, footage and investigations following the case will hopefully mean that they will be able to find more witnesses to help lead to her whereabouts, and she can be brought home safely soon.

I hope you don't think that I'm being opportunistic, but seeing this story played out through the news and social media has been a very personal reminder for me. 

In the early hours of the 2nd of April, 2008 my dear friend Sally Sze Wan Cheong went missing from her home in Oakleigh South and has not been seen or heard from since.  She was last seen in their family home around 3am by one of her sisters, and when she failed to turn up for work at the family business the next day, the alarm was raised. 

She left the house somewhere between those times with her wallet, phone, iPod, car keys and a blanket that she had had since she was a baby... however, that is where the clues end.  Her phone was switched off by noon, her credit cards and bank account remain untouched, and her car was still parked safely in its spot when I went to see the family shortly after her disappearance.

Sally was a gorgeous girl, with an infectious laugh, and the carest, kindest, most trusting nature.  Perhaps a little too trusting.  When we met in the first week of high school, she was a timid little soul but we connected and became firm friends.  She wasn't a fan of public speaking, but would chatter away to me with ease, so I would be her voice during class when we were required to speak out loud.  As time progressed, we added friends to our group and developed quite a social circle.  Before I knew it, Sally would be the one to approach newcomers to the school and invite them to join us during lunch breaks.  Over the years, she blossomed from that timid little girl I had first met into the most likeable social butterfly. 

Sally was everyone's friend.  You would be hard pressed to find a person who did not like her.  Actually, scrap that.  You just would not be able to; it was impossible.  She was known for her love of cameras, and she would follow you around the hallways just hoping to snap a candid shot.  We formed our own "family" at school, and she was my twin sister, and a better one I could not have asked for.  I know this whole spiel sounds like something people say in hindsight, to not speak ill of those gone, but every single word of this is the truth.  The only fault I can find with her is the fact that she was TOO good; too friendly and too caring, and since she was everyone's friend I had to share her time with a million others!

I suppose that's one of the things that could have been a downfall in the end and lead to her disappearance.  She had so many friends and was so caring and trusting, and would try to help anyone in need, no questions asked.  We can only assume she crossed paths with the wrong type of person, and would not have suspected a thing because she only ever saw the good in people. 

Her family and friends still live in the hope that she is out there somewhere, and will some day eventually return home to us safely.  So I guess this is the point of my post...

I'm asking if you could please keep your eyes and ears peeled.

This media attention for Jill Meagher means that every person in Melbourne is keeping a watchful eye, hoping to find clues to assist in the case.  Please be on the look out for one more person, and perhaps help find an answer to our questions?

I know that four years is a very long time to be gone, but we're still hopeful, and every extra pair of eyes that are looking out for her helps our chances.

The worst thing about when someone goes missing like this is the uncertainty.  Friends and family don't know whether to grieve, or remain positive and hopeful.  There is no closure on the matter.  We don't know whether she suffered, or whether she is still suffering.  We don't know if we'll ever see her again, and we don't know what more there is that we can do to try and find her. 

But what we do know is that we are hoping with ever fibre of our being that she is happy and safe, and that some day she will return home to us.  That day, should it ever eventuate, will be the most joyous of occasions. 

Sally, if you're out there, we still love you and miss you more than ever.  All we want is for you to be back with us where you belong.  You're never too far from my thoughts, and no matter how much time goes by I won't ever stop hoping I'll see your pretty face again.  My biggest wish for you is that you're happy, and most importantly that you're safe.  Please come home! xxxxxxxx


  1. Having someone close to you missing must be one of the most difficult things to go through.

    You did the right thing posting this, any awareness that might lead to finding her is worth it.

    So sorry you have had to go through this xxx

  2. oh my gosh, I'm so sorry to hear this Cat. Raising awareness is a good thing that you're doing. It must be so hard someone so close to you go missing and I understand how tough the uncertainty is.

  3. I'm so sorry about your friend, the worst thing must be not knowing x

  4. I'm so sorry, Cat. With everything in the news this morning this really mut be a sad time for you. Seeing photos of your friend and hearing your story really puts a human face to stories like this. So sad.

  5. I don't see how anyone could think this is in bad taste, I am sorry to hear this story and for your friend Sally. I hope that she returns to you, her friends and family. I cannot imagine how this must feel and wish for nothing but the best outcome. xx

  6. I have no words.

    Sadly, one of my reactions this morning upon hearing the news of Jill was relief. That though not found alive, she was at least found. Her family will have some sort of closure and not still be wondering where she is for the rest of their lives.

    I hope that one day you find Sally, wherever she may be.


  7. So so sorry about your friend. I can't imagine anything worse than not knowing where your loved is or what happened to them.

  8. I'm so sorry Cat. I just can't imagine how terrible it is to have someone just disappear like that. My Great Grandmother spent her life waiting to hear of her son, my great uncle, who disappeared in Russia in WWII. But that was war, you kind of know what happened. To have someone just disappear from regular life is unimaginable.

    I really hope you find your friend.

  9. Not bad taste at all. I'm so sorry this happened to someone that you knew. And worse her family and friends (like yourself) is still waiting for her to come home one day.

  10. Oh Cat, I am so so so sorry to hear this. I hope that Sally is okay wherever she is and that she will come back to you and all her other loved ones, if not soon, then eventually. Thank you for raising awareness about this xxx

  11. Oh Cat, I can hardly imagine how painful it must be to lose one of your closest friends like this. What has happened to Jill Meagher is so sad, but I can't help but think about all the cases like this that don't get any publicity. This post really brings home how real the whole thing is. So sorry that you've had to go through this x

  12. Oh God Cat this made me tear up. I'm so, so sorry you've had to experience this. I was in Dubbo during the whole Jill Meagher ordeal. We had no access to internet, except for the few times my phone 3G would work and I got the headlines. I was shattered when I got back on Saturday and heard they had found her body. I too, never met her and I did think about all the people who go missing who don't get so much (or any) media attention and never get help from the public.

    I'm so sorry, I can't even begin to imagine the uncertainty and pain felt when losing one of your closest friends this way.

    I really don't think it's bad taste at all to post this - if anything I think it's a really good time to. If there's one thing learnt by the Jill Meagher case it is that community can be incredibly strong. I really hope someone out there comes forward with some information with Sally. Someone surely has to know something.

    Thoughts are with you, and her family.

  13. Dear Cat,
    That was such a heartfelt post. I'm so sorry this happened. Sally sounds like a beautiful girl and I hope wherever she is out there, she is ok.
    I caught a glimpse of the peace march on the weekend in Brunswick and the overwhelming message was of love and support. The recent events is a reminder we need to look out for each other more and we overall are not a community that condemns violence. Here's to a future where there are 0 missing persons.

  14. Hi cat, thanks for writing such a beautiful piece about Sally. I actually am not able to read it all right now coz i started tearin up half way and considering im at work i dont want to start bawling my eyes out. But i will finish reading it later. I just wanted to say (from reading the first part of the blog)how touched i am. Sally would be so grateful to have such a great friend like you to keep her memories alive.

  15. I cannot imagine the pain and heartache associated with someone you love being missing. Not knowing what has happened to them would be the hardest.
    I'm so so sorry.