The world’s a little dimmer without your shining light

You’ve heard me talk before about my lovely friend, Tish.  Today I heard the news that she passed away yesterday morning.  My world just got a little bit darker.

Tish came into my life a few years ago when we both attended a charity ball in Brighton raising funds to build a new Macmillan Support Centre (Splash of Green).  The ball was (and has been annually since) organised by a mutual friend, Della.  Della had put Tish and I on the same table along with Lindsay and Kerry.  We had a blast.  We laughed and giggled the evening away and became great friends.

I wrote about our little trip to Brighton.  We had a hoot.   What I didn’t tell you.  I didn’t know how.  Was that Kerry passed away last November.  We didn’t get the chance to celebrate her 40th birthday with her.  I’m sure Kerry loved the planning and plotting on our trip to Brighton though.  Tish and I visited my bench in Berkeley Square and raised a glass to Kerry to wish her a happy birthday.

My bench in Berkeley Square has featured a great deal with Tish and I over the past year or so.  We’ve visited it together and separately.  I’ve loved that I get a text from Tish saying she’s there.  She needed space and somewhere to think and has headed to my bench.  I’ve loved that she found sanctity on my bench too.  I’ve loved that she’s celebrated there with me also.

I can’t believe that a year and a few days after Kerry’s passing, I’m here writing this now about Tish’s passing.

Tish has celebrated the great things with me and also the not so great things.  We’ve met up before or after medical appointments.  Texted, called or sent a card to say that we’re thinking of each other at a time of scanxiety or treatment.  I think we ‘got’ each other.  Despite being in each other’s lives for such a relatively short time, she was truly a great friend.

In recent months when she’s not been so well, I’ve spent time with her in hospital receiving chemo or visited her when she’s been staying ‘overnight’.  We’ve met up in town when she’s having appointments.  We’ve put the world to right face to face.  Lately because of fluid on her lungs, we’ve ‘talked’ more by text.  Long lengthy texts that I’m sure our mobile providers love the cost of.  We’ve exchanged cards and postcards.  We’ve encouraged, supported, motivated and loved.

Tish showed me many things in our short friendship.  Her generosity of spirit.  Her incredibly positive attitude.  Her endless love.  Her ability to plan for a future.  To take life and give it a jolly good shakeup.

For example, last year when she was told her ovarian cancer had recurred.  She did what any crazy fun loving, life living person would do… booked a trip to Australia!  One of Tish’s sisters lives in Australia and had got married in Mexico.  Tish had been to the wedding and had met a man there, Dave.  He lived in Perth.  Tish said it was crazy timing and crazy to think that anyone should come into her life now.  Her month in Australia was made all the better by a truly caring and thoughtful man.  He visited a few months ago and was planning to come over here for Christmas.  I’m so terribly grateful that Tish had this love in her life again.  Despite his living so far away, he was always in touch with her and obviously cared deeply for her.

Tish has always  believed that she can help her health by maintaining a positive energy, meditating, eating well and with nutrition to help fight cancer and keep her cancer-free.  Dave supported her in this and she attended many meditation classes and events in Perth.  She came back from Australia really stunning the medics and proving once again that she can beat this dreadful disease.

Life sort of took over recently with trying to sort out finances and thinking about selling her flat.  We talked about some of the stresses in her life that were now pushing ‘Tish’ time out and the importance of putting it all back together again.  Tish booked into the Penny Brohn Cancer Centre a few months ago.  I talked about my going at the same time but decided that we both needed to talk about things separately.  She took her great friend Maxine.  Tish came back refreshed and ready to renew her positive spirit once more.  Tish urged me to book myself into Penny Brohn.  I’m now supremely grateful that she did and off there very soon.

I can’t imagine the pain and loss that is being experienced by her daughter, her parents, her siblings and Dave.  No parent should lose a child, at any age.  No young girl should have to deal with the loss of her parent.

Just one final word.

Tish I’m incredibly grateful and thankful for you to have been a part of my life.  You’ve taught me much more than you could every know.  I shall miss you dreadfully and right now don’t know who’s going to put my world right.  Who will I text with tidbits of crazy news?  Thank you for your support, love, laughter and encouragement.

An extra pair of hands

I moved back into my flat two years ago.  The garden has never quite recovered from my not being here and taking care of it.  Those of you reading this who have ever had your own garden may understand what I mean when I say that you really can’t leave it for too long before it gets out of hand.  Well imagine 3 years!

In 2005 I paid some friends (who were also gardeners) to dig out areas, turf, plant, landscape and generally make it fabulous.  It was.  But it matured and looked amazing when I was living in the country near Mum and not here.  By the time I came back the shrubs were dead (or dug up), the roses dying, the lavender hedge out of control, jasmine clambering everywhere and pulling down a fence and the lawn full of weeds and moss.  I can’t explain in words how disappointed I was and saddened that shrubs that I’d taken from Mum’s garden and also from my childhood home had now perished.

Since returning to London, I’ve done heaps in the garden but somehow the weather or busy-ness seems to take over and the garden lapses once more.  It’s hard.  If it was just maintaining it and weeding it, it’s somehow easier.  But because I’m left with a garden that is barren from decent shrubs and flowers but still full of weeds and a lawn that is patchy and unattractive, I know it’s a chore to bring back to beauty.  Each morning as I look out to the garden I see weeds and rubble and unlovedness.  Although I have got so much better at looking at eyeline to see only the brightly coloured fence and sheds that bring sunshine into my garden.  But sometimes I remember to look down.  I also want, on the rare days with sunshine, to enjoy the garden and long to be able to pull the sun-lounger out of the shed and lounge!

Today however a friend of mine, Maria, gave up her day to come and help me.  What a joy it was to spend the day digging and weeding whilst chatting about life, universe, everything.  We managed to get two of the bigger flowerbeds weed free.  Only things that remain in one is the small conifers with really big roots.  I think I can manage to dig around the roots and perhaps to yank them out.  Then I can turf that section.  The other section I am going to build up with soil from else where (weed free soil) and then to set different levels and plant pots.  Granny’s pots.  I can’t wait to see them used again and to grow some vibrant coloured plants (easy to maintain ones).

I’m so tremendously grateful for an extra pair of hands today, good company, great work and importantly a little bit of headway toward regaining my garden.  But boy does my back ache.

(Oh and of course, we finished the day with a bubble or two!)

Pimms anyone?

Very short entry today… just had to let you know about something very very exciting.  I’ve been waiting an age to finally find some people to  help me create a patio area in my garden and today some lovely Polish chaps have worked really  hard.  They dug out about 25 big bags of rubble and replaced it with hardstanding and then some fabulous patio slabs…

Oooh so can’t wait for it all to be dry, to finally get the table and chairs out, for there to be a touch of sunshine and then together with some wonderful company enjoy a few Pimms!