We both met C 33 years ago. Neither of us are now sure who started talking first, but what we do know is that the talking never stopped.
She was loving, generous in heart and spirit, accepting, non-judgmental, and open minded.She had a creative flair that could throw anything together and make it look artistic and stunning. She had a love of life and a willingness to explore new art, performance, music and places. She had a black sense of humour, and could always find the funny side.She was our glue, she kept us connected and kept us grounded. Most importantly as a friend, she was always there – consistent, stable and unhurried. She had time! Time to talk, time to listen, time to share.
Loving –Though she was really a cat person, because she loved me, C has loved my dogs, over the years. She showed her love of H by being there, by showing up, such a rare thing these days. And she was always there with a hug when you needed one. She’d hold out her arms, and make that noise “awwwwwwwww” and in you’d go. Or she’d pat our hands, to let us know that she cared.
Acceptance – She accepted everyone for who they were, and welcomed everyone into her home. We both have friends who met her once and have never forgotten her. She always remembered people, and would ask after them. Any situation she found herself in, she just got on with it. Well, that’s interesting, she’d say.
Generous – C would ask me to come with her, or with her and H to something – a restaurant, or a film, or some event, and I would say “No. Really. I can’t afford it” and she would say, without fail “ I don’t mind, I just want to see YOU”
She couldn’t say no to any charity that asked for a donation, and had many “chosen”. I believe I was one of them.
Non judgemental – not once, ever, in the 26 years I’ve been smoking did she ever suggest I stop, or judge me for being a smoker. When I went round to theirs, she always got the ashtray out for me, and even when she was dying I told her that if she asked me to stop, I would think about it, she never did. She would never do that.
Open minded – there wasn’t much that shocked C – she was always open to new ideas, experiences and music. Her tastes were often far more worldly than mine, and it delighted her to show or tell me about something new.
As H’s plus 1, they grew together in their appreciation of art, performance, experiences and music – H says that C made her look at things in a different light. Their likes were common, their dislikes shared. It was always easy for them to find something to do, places to go, food to eat, wine to drink.
Wanted to impose or cause worry. Even when she was ill. H stayed the night, that week she was home, and she soldiered on, sucking up the pain and worry, while H slept on in the room next door. And if you asked her why she hadn’t told us something, she would say she didn’t want to worry us.
Steely in will – If she didn’t want to do something, which was very rare, or she didn’t agree with us, which was also very rare, she would let us know. In no uncertain terms. She was always polite about it, well usually, but you knew nevertheless. She could never say no to anyone but she was no walkover.
Quirky – C and I shared a love of hugging and kissing each other. We had duckie cuddles in fact, where you kiss on the lips (duckie lipkisses) and then hug whilst waggling your bum, When she was ill, we still enjoyed our duckie kisses, it has to be said. And when H and her and I were together, we always found something strange to laugh at. I know they went to much experimental theatre over the years, and really enjoyed it. They would either poke fun at it, or think it was very clever, but it was always an experience.
Consistent and stable – It didn’t matter where you were, or how long it had been since you’d seen or spoken to her, she was always there. When H and I left for Europe, separately, we missed her wedding, but when we returned, back to the fold we came, and never left again. Through divorces, and illnesses, the good times and bad, she was there for it all, there for us. And made sure we knew how much of a priority we were in her life.
being a passenger – C and I had a number of roadtrips together under our belts. She liked being in the passenger seat, being taken along for the ride. And I loved driving her. We would talk for hours – the thing she most enjoyed doing – and when we got to her destination, we would always be a bit sorry that the trip had ended. One of the things we most enjoyed in the last few years, though, was riding in H’s flash car. The question was always asked: whose car shall we go in. For C and I there was never any doubt. I would sit in the front ( I could never get the seat up to let her in and H had to fiddle around) and C would sit in the back. H would drive us, and we’d talk, and talk, and talk. She just liked going along for the ride, in so many ways.
Unhurried – It didn’t matter what we were doing, she’d always say “I’m in no rush”. Lunches with her were wonderful leisurely affairs. At a time when others are always rushing off to do something else, of have to meet someone, C was just there, and would spend as much time as was needed to talk, laugh, and share herself. If we were up on Ponsonby Rd lunching at SPQR, our favourite place, she and H would walk along and look at the shops. Most of the time, I would bow out, and hear about their perambulations later. But I always felt like I missed out, as I rushed home.
An analogue girl in a digital world – C loved to talk on the phone. She and I used to talk on the phone most days until a couple of years ago, and I know that she and H talked every day when H was in the country. Ian loved it when she rang to talk to me. If I was out walking the dog, she and he would natter away for a good long while. She had a cellphone but never really used it. She was happier to chat on the phone or have regular get togethers, and talk to you face to face.
The glue – she was the connector among our friends, the one who organized the lunches, dinners, get togethers. Often if someone had something to celebrate, it was held at her house. She made sure that there were regular occasions to celebrate, and if people were alone or having a bad time, she made sure to include them. H and I never saw each other without her, after we came back from overseas, but even in her dying, she brought us together, and we spent many happy hours with her in hospital chattering away, laughing, doing what we’d always done.
Her loss is great, but we remember her always with such love for the joy and friendship she brought into our lives. For the many lunches we ate, for all the talking we did, for all the laughs we had.
C was our best best friend and one of the great loves of our life.