Monday, March 4, 2013

The Legacy Of My Friend, The Warrior Woman

IMAGE: THE MOTHER LOAD | The Legacy Of My Friend, The Warrior Woman

Although I don't feel the usual upbeat sense of creativity and enthusiastic desire to pour words onto the page for the sake of good therapy, I feel it's important to make a note of this time, this strange time I'm living where my dear friend is gone. The house is quiet, there are no random phone calls, emails or text messages containing the usual enjoyable nothingness of our everyday life. There is a void now which was always filled by our wonderful female 'friendship-py' things. And it's that I'm having such trouble getting used to. The quiet. The absence of our daily, often very personal conversations. 

Three weeks ago, my close friend lost her battle with that cruel and unforgiving mistress we call cancer. She had it for the entire five year duration of our friendship and although we all helped her navigate its evil path in some way, she was very much the captain of that ship, steering through the tempests like some warrior woman charging bravely into battle. I knew her with hair for the first three months of our friendship and we cried together the day it was shaved off. I cried because she cried for what it represented to her and because the future was so unknown. From that day in 2009, she endured with super human bravery an endless supply of chemotherapy, an auto immune disease, radiotherapy, hospital stays, the varied bedside manner of a never-ending chain of specialists, and the changing fashion of her stylish wigs while raising three of the most gorgeously, well - rounded children you will ever meet. Yes, three children. Enough said. 

I write this post not so much to talk about what an incredible friend she was (and indeed she was) but more to reflect on how it feels to move through this strange period of what is referred to as 'grief'. Having said that though, I don't feel as though I'm worthy of 'grieving' - to me the presence of this emotion should be reserved for the lovely husband, her children, parents and sisters she leaves behind. My 'grief' feels positively embarrassing in comparison to the emotions that they have no choice but to feel. Nonetheless, here I sit, riding that wave of being okay most of the time, then feeling the presence of a little black cloud hovering above me, like I'm the sole feature in sad Leunig cartoon. The time I would have usually enjoyed sitting at home on my own has diminished;  I look for distraction between dropping kids at school and going home, in order to make the silent times a little shorter. This will pass I know, but for now things have changed and the routine no longer fits as neatly as it used to.  I do however, take a lot of solace from the fact that during our friendship and particularly her challenging times, we always said what we felt and how much we appreciated each other. Not that I ever really entertained the thought that it would be the last time we'd speak to each other, but more that from my perspective, if ever that day came I would want her to go filled with the knowledge of how much I adored her and how much she would be missed. I truly hope that she felt that in her final days. 

She was always one to give a small gift whenever I did something small to help her out - gorgeous bracelets, a bunch of flowers, a loaf of banana bread which I always received with the need to remind her of how unnecessary it was but now I treasure each and every gift, including the hand written notes that accompanied them. Perhaps the greatest gift of all however, was the request that I deliver a eulogy at her Memorial. To me, it was like a final, ever- meaningful conversation conducted from the other side, acknowledging the strength and depth of our friendship for the very last time so for allowing me the opportunity to verbalise how I felt about her, I'll always be grateful.

Not only have I learned a great deal about courage and incredible positivity, but I've learned a good lesson about how friendships should be conducted and how important they are for so many reasons. We should always appreciate friends, new and old, and tell them so. Tell them what they mean to us and what they uniquely provide, as we never really know what the future holds. 

Going forward, I will do this and use the template of our wonderful friendship as my guide. Thank you to my cherished friend - gone, dearly missed,  but never forgotten.


  1. What a beautiful tribute to your friend, and friendship more broadly. So sorry for your loss Sophie.

    1. Thanks so much, Lovely. Nice of you to comment on this one.

  2. sophie, i'm standing in the kitchen crying, for your sadness, for her children and husband and the loss they must feel. how brave of you to write about this, i will try harder today to smile, be kind and get over myself ;) love to you. kx

  3. Thanks so much for your comment, lovely Karina. It certainly does give us a little perspective doesn't it?! Your kind words mean a lot to me, dear friend - I hope you're well and happy and would love to see you soon. Much love xxxxx