In my home country Australia, the implementation of the asbestos ban started in 2003. I wasn’t familiar with the threatening mineral until it causes a devastating impact on my life. My dear friend, Asya. A friendship that got swept away because of the toxic mineral. I met Asya in college, she was a very smart girl, ambitious. She wanted to graduate at the top of her class and enter one of the top 5 accounting firms in Australia. And she did. She did everything she always wanted. She was that friend who you don’t talk to every day but always checks on you.
I remember her telling me how her parents were so excited they got to renovate their house as it’s been on her parents’ mind for a long time, but they hadn’t got the money to do so, it was after Asya got promoted as an associate, she saved money from her salary every month.
One time when we got together, I notice how she looks thinner than the last time I saw her. I jokingly told her how her diet program has finally worked. Little did I know it was the beginning of her end. Just a few months after we met she told me she was diagnosed with lung carcinoma. I didn’t know what it was at that time, as I was just thinking it’s not a serious disease until the word cancer came out of her mouth. I felt numb as she told me that, and I immediately asked, “how?”. It was the only word that I could think of. She told me it was because of her being too active during her house renovation and lack of protection from dangerous minerals involved in the process as it caused her being exposed to asbestos.
One of the biggest regrets in my life was the fact that I stopped seeing her after she told me that, I distance myself from her. As it was a form of preparation of her being gone from my life. one year after she told me. I didn’t come to her funeral, because I didn’t want to accept the reality that she’s gone. I thought to myself during that time if I didn’t see her it didn’t happen. She’s still alive, as ambitious and as happy as ever. As she is still alive, in my memory.
What happened to Asya’s makes me more aware of asbestos as one of the most harmful minerals there is, I ended up hiring professional asbestos removal to inspect my house. What happened to her was too much enough to handle and I do not want any of my loved ones to suffer because of direct contact with asbestos.