A good friend of mine died recently, and though it wasn’t entirely a shock as she’d been ill, it rattled me a bit. You know that feeling, when you get an unpleasant bit of news mid-afternoon and it leaves you feeling slightly out of phase with things for the rest of the day? Well, it was like that (Hmm, typing that reminds me of that line in the ‘Sunscreen’ song: “The real troubles in life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind the blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday”).
Anyway, a memorial service was held (I couldn’t attend, which is a pity, as the lady in question led a full and interesting life: a member of one of the first all-female bands, an astrologer, an employee of Her Majesty’s Government, tarot card reader, with grown-up children who – if memory serves – were in different countries much of the time doing a variety of intriguing-sounding jobs. Would have been a fittingly lively service, I suspect), though for me it’s more often in the little moments that I remember my friend, and feel a pull in my stomach at the thought that she’s not around any more.
This morning, I was looking for something in my notebook, and I came across her address; it was there and not in my address book because when she’d been diagnosed she’d decided to leave London and move to a cleaner environment (close to where my parents live, as it turns out), to be in the countryside and eat fruit and vegetables grown close by and without chemicals. A decision, I rather suspect, which added months to her life. But now I find that I have that address in my notebook, her number programmed into my phone, and her e-mail in my list of friends, but she’s not there any more.
And it’s on those occasions, when I see her name or details, that I realise my friend’s gone. And I miss her.