My first job when I graduated as a teacher was at a small independent primary school in central London. I spent four years there and made some very close friends. Some of whom I am still close to. We keep in touch via email, text, Facebook and the odd phonecall. And I always call them when I go to London. It’s become harder to meet up though, because of Vinay.
In early 2010 I was talking to one of them and she told me about another one of our close friends. Fiona. The details are very hazy, so please forgive me.
Fiona had some sort of fit one evening. I think it was during Christmas. And she woke up to find that it was two days later.
After several tests, they found out that she had a brain tumour. And because of the location of the tumour, it couldn’t be treated.
Fiona? Our Fiona? Impossible!
I was in London that summer (awaiting Vinay’s arrival), and made sure I knew what was happening with her and how her husband and children were coping.
On Saturday 4th September 2010, I received an email from her daughter saying they’d moved her to a hospice, her memory was going and would I like to come and visit. Yes. I wanted to visit. And planned to go there on Monday.
Vinay was due on Tuesday. My mum and mil are a bit superstitious and weren’t too keen on me going in my heavily pregnant state. But I insisted I was going.
When Monday came round, I didn’t go. I was feeling heavy, tired and generally crappy. I stayed in, put my feet up and felt bad about not going.
That was exactly seventeen months ago. In the last seventeen months I’ve kept in touch with our common friends who have been able to update me on what’s been going on.
This morning her son emailed me.
Fiona passed away last night.
I’m sitting here, with tears streaming down my face. I’m thinking about her three children. Her husband and her relatives. How are they coping? How have they coped all these months?
I feel so incredibly guilty for not having visited her. She was a wonderful friend, who was always there.
So, Fiona – I know you’re up there. Probably with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. I know you’re watching over your loved ones. Thank you for always being there. For always listening. And for always giving great advice. And thank you for Friday nights at the pub!
I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you – but I was always thinking of you.
You will be missed by so many – colleagues, students, friends and family.
Love you and miss you.
Goodbye, my friend.