Mila Oh, force of nature, irrepressible chowhound (posting under the handle moh) and treasured friend, passed away yesterday evening. The cause was complications from breast cancer. She was sleeping at the time and her beloved husband was at her side. As can be gleaned from her few recent posts, she'd been in a bad way of late, and the knowledge that her suffering has ended is our only consolation.
One of the places her spirit lives on is in her Chowhound posts. Read and enjoy: www.chow.com/profile/89969?tag=highli...
What else to add? Only that Mila has already said what needs saying in her moving and, in hindsight, brave tribute to Sam Fujisaka. A few life details aside, she could well have been talking about herself.
"I've been unable to post since hearing the news. It's hard to know what to say, what could possibly be an appropriate tribute for a larger-than-life character whose personality shines like a giant beacon with every post?
"But then I was sitting with some good friends, ripping into fresh snow crab legs, dipping them in gobs of melted butter, chomping on fresh asparagus spears, more crab, the shells cracking open to release their glorious treasure, followed by swigs of the most lovely 15 year-old Alsatian riesling, laughing at the stories of my friend's children, and the mischief they had been up to. We are celebrating the return of spring. As the wine continues to pour, the stories get raunchier, someone breaks into the chorus of some old 1980's song, people join in. More bottles open, and people start to get a little maudlin, but that is ok too, anything goes. We are amongst good friends, good food and drink, can it get any better than this? And we create yet another happy memory that bonds us to each other.
"That is when I realized, Sam would not want some fancy formal memorial service, he would want a rip-roaring wake! He would want to leave this world on a rocket ship, not a hearse.
"Sam was a man who was so passionate about everything: food, drink, his scientific work, women, his children, life. It is his passion that draws us to him, and it is his wit, intelligence and engaging manner that makes us want to stay. He was never afraid to express his opinions, but was also willing to listen to opposing points of view. He was a man who was willing to try any kind of food, he had a quality of openness that is so rare to see. And he shared his love and passion for food with us through his posts, he was an incredibly generous soul.
"Sam had some of the strange hours I seem to keep, and he helped me through several tough nights, where he and I and others would create Tibetan Sand Art, posting odder and funnier and raunchier posts that were guaranteed to be moderated by morning. His posts made me laugh when nothing else could, and I am extremely grateful for those moments of laughter. His posts made me think, kept my mind active when I needed to be preoccupied. I could hear his 'voice', sense his presence when I read his posts. He always made me feel welcome and comfortable, even when we were debating some scientific point. And I feel like I've shared his table, eaten a mighty banquet with him, even though it was a virtual one. Thank you Sam, for sharing so many moments with me, with all of us. We are all richer for sharing your grand passion for life.
"So let it start! Laugh, cry, sing, open up a bunch of bottles, pile the food on the table! Let's celebrate the life of Sam Fujisaka, knowing he lived the equivalent of nine lives, and lived them all with passion laughter and love. I raise my glass!"
Please feel free to share your memories and stories of Mila/moh and your thoughts on her passing.