Funeral for a friend

Funeral for a friend

I went to a friend’s funeral today.

I was at school with her.

Louise was the girl we all wanted to be – tall, blonde, leggy, clever. And incredibly kind and thoughtful. A beautiful person outside and in.

But she was already not of this world.  She circulated in a different stratosphere that twinkled and shone.

Unlike the rest of us, mesmerised by Donny Osmond and David Cassidy, she had her sights firmly set on Richard. A stock broker, fifteen years older than us, he seemed an old man living in a middle aged world.

We told her she was crazy.  He’d never notice a sixteen year old.

She married him on her 21st Birthday.  Their son was born six years later.  But she was widowed at 31, Richard suffering an hereditary and congenital illness. Everyone was devastated.

I drank my most expensive bottle of wine that night to celebrate his life and loss.

Two years later, Louise did something extraordinary.  She sold EVERYTHING.  The house, the car, the jewellery, the furniture, her clothes.

She had come to realise that the only way to move forward from Richard was to remove everything that could ever remind her of him.  She said that even the salt cellar Richard bought as a gift reduced to her to tears. She had her son and that was enough.

Of course, she attracted a lot of vermin in her vulnerable, comfortably wealthy state. An impoverished ballet dancer, a sailor with submerged boat – all manner of waifs and strays.

But then she met Richard II and her life took off again.  She married, had two more children and they moved to France to live the Good Life.

She was diagnosed with aggressive Motor Neurone Disease and died within a year.

And my point – for there is one – is that in spite of her tragedies, this was a woman blessed.  Her life was ridiculously short. But she filled it with good things.  Even when there was little of any goodness around her. She focussed on what was important.

Louise was always incredibly kind to me.  I never had the looks, the legs, the locks or the logos.  And that didn’t matter to her.

Because I was the only one to tell her that she didn’t need to wear a pair of pants both under and over her tights.

We learnt a lot from each other but I learnt the most.

I will miss her.




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