Fourteen years have passed since I lost my best friend. Suddenly. Like a wrecking ball.
She was only 53 when she died. The same age as I am now. Chilling thought.
I think of her so often, especially around this time of year. She loved Art Deco Weekend and she would have loved what it has become. The eccentric frivolity of the Gatsby Picnic. The family-friendliness. The unpretentious fun.
She truly was an amazing, loving, giving saint of a person. Kind, compassionate, honest, real. A perfect friend. At her funeral it became apparent that she was best friend to many, and somehow she managed to juggle us all and make us feel each and every one special.
In her last years she changed direction in her career - from teaching to counselling. Not entirely different roles. Listening was her forté, and her advice was always measured and wise. Many of her lessons and quips will stay with me always..."what will you change so that you don't feel like this a year from now?"..
"Follow your bliss". That was the best one.
Follow your heart. Follow your dreams.
Love what you do.
Not long before she died, she had left work altogether and was doing just that. Following her bliss. Making dreams come true. She was so happy.
I can't count the times I've wished she was still here, not just to be my amazing friend, but to enjoy the many wonderful events and changes that have taken place over the last fourteen years. To finish her book. To send me more postcards from Paris.
Her children now all have children of their own. Her legacy of love continues and how she would have relished the role of grandmother. After all my fails and disappointments she would have been so pleased with the wonderful man I finally met. That I became a mother too. Loved that after all these years I've made this change to doing something that truly feeds the soul.
This flowery journey.
Following my bliss.
So thank you Ali for your friendship and for your inspiration.