Losing someone you love is indescribable. The pain is physical as well as emotional. I lost someone recently.
Her battle with secondary breast cancer was a quick one. After a pretty nasty infection and a stay in hospital, she was moved to the hospice to recover enough to go home. I saw her there on the Friday and she looked great. We made plans for fun things to do once she ‘got out’ and made our usual inappropriate jokes that would have us giggling like teenagers. We ate our way through a bag of M&S goodies and generally caught up on all the goings on of our lives.
Before I knew it, I realised I’d been there for 3 hours and decided I had better go and let her rest. We made plans for my next visit, I hugged her, kissed her head, told her “love you” and headed home. I felt relieved that she looked so happy and well. All the worry and fear I’d felt over the past few weeks while she’d been in hospital started to dissipate.
A few days later, her health started to deteriorate and on the Wednesday I received the devastating message that she had passed away.
I wanted to write this blog as my tribute to her. To put down in words how much she meant to me and to describe what made her such a wonderful person. Sadly, I don’t think even if I wrote 10 books, I’d be able to do her justice.
Instead I’ll share a few of my favorite memories of her with you.
1. The first time we caught each others eye while someone (an annoying someone) was talking and I KNEW she was thinking the same thing as me and it made us both stifle a giggle.
2. A few weeks into radiotherapy and I had become hot and burned. She was having chemo at the same time and she was using the cold cap (to try to prevent hair loss) and she was freezing. We had a cuddle to ‘balance each other out’. We understood each other and gave each other exactly the right kind of support.
3. On our train journey to Solihull to meet our chemo buddies, we laughed all the way there. About nothing and everything. It was always so comforting to have a friend who could truly understand everything I was facing, who I could be honest with and have that honesty returned when she needed to talk.
4. The hilarity in our far too hot hotel room and trying to invent ways to cool down. And failing. Spectacularly. This included both of us sitting on the edge of the bath with our feet in the cold water, lying on the floor with a wet towel covering us, taking turns to fan each other with a magazine and leaning up against the (mildly) cool door in fits of laughter.
Chemotherapy induced menopause is horrific but looking back on that night, all I can do is laugh.
5. Every time she used her medical knowledge or just her calming influence to talk me out of a panic attack. Going through cancer treatment with a qualified doctor was helpful, the fact that she was also a brilliant friend, well that was just my good luck.
6. Visiting her in hospital and giving her a manicure, moisturising her ‘cankles’ (horrible drug side effects) and generally getting to feel useful during a time where all I wanted to do was help her.
7. Every time we laughed, ate cake (during the steroid munchies) or had marathon late night texting conversations that took insane tangents and had me snorting with laughter despite the pain and fear of cancer treatment.
I know that we were both grateful to cancer for one thing: our friendship.
I miss her every day and still find myself reaching for my phone when I see something I know she’d laugh at. How long until that stops?
She made me a better person and gave me more support than my entire medical team combined.
As I struggle through without her, I try to remember how much she rooted for me and wouldn’t want me to feel, so deeply, the hole she has left in my heart.
No one deserves this but least of all her. As a friend she was kind, caring, funny and thoughtful. As a wife and mum she was loving, passionate and fiercely protective. As a human, she was an incredible asset. Her intelligence and compassion would have made her an outstanding doctor and I’m furious that her chance to practice was cut short.
Lindsay: she was one of a kind and taken far too soon. I’ll always be grateful for our friendship and I’ll never forget her.