Tag Archives: friends

live beautifully, hideously, stupidly and in the most epic manner

So in the last few months I have lost two very young friends to cancer.

I have had to learn some things in this process of loss. There had to be a reason, or an outcome from this grief. Of course the lessons could be a multitude of things but in the face of all this death I have learned something about myself.

“Terminal Cancer” means the end is inevitable. There is no cure.

Apparently my brain although accepting this truth, seemed to deceive itself into thinking this means later rather than sooner. So in essence I believed the disease was incurable but that didn’t mean they would die now…. It couldn’t happen now. I realised this in trying to figure out how I totally reeled from the news that they had passed. It was a shock. And I thought to myself that it shouldn’t have been a shock, I should have been prepared. Then came the guilt. oh my god, if only I had known how little time we had left (which I did) I would’ve visited/messaged/called more.

Denial. Ahhhhh. I didn’t want to believe my two very young friends would die before me. I convinced myself we had time. Incurable but without imminent death. The fact that I went through the death of one friend only to slip into the denial and go through the death of the second under the same veil of shock and in defiance of the true meaning of terminal, I have to ask why. Was I protecting myself? If someone else should tell me they have a terminal illness, will I face that honestly and admit what it really means or is my need to protect myself by sheer denial stronger than the lesson I have learned? Probably. I didn’t want to expect my friends to die. In all honesty I really didn’t want to watch them die. But they are gone. The one thing I can say is that I didn’t treat my friends like they were dying. I think they appreciated that. I hope.

I am angry because they won’t get to do the things they should’ve still done like travel, write a book, film a movie, perhaps marry, perhaps have kids, build a home. I realise I have these idealistic expectations of what they should have been able to do with their lives. My reaction after AJ died was to come up with a bucket list a mile long.

Then out of the blue reality set in. I may have wished wonderful things for my friends but realistically that life may have included a divorce, kids in rehab, retrenchment, critics, failure to reach goals, car accidents, horrid co-workers, horrible neighbours, debt and deaths of friends and family.

Ok. Stop. So am I glad they don’t have to go through the negative? Not really. I think they should’ve had all the up and downs that life has to bring. That is living. So the one lesson I am taking away from this, that may actually hold, is that I get to still have ups and downs and blessing and disasters, for which I shall be grateful. My bucket list is a great way to start doing things I want to do, but in between I know there will be heartache, and disappointment and despair. I intend living so damn hard. I shall love deeply knowing that I may hurt badly. I will set out on crazy adventures that may result in setbacks, injury, and disappointment. I will climb mountains knowing that I can fall, and if I do fall, so be it. Rosie and AJ won’t get to fall down a mountain.

I shall create a bunch of memories, good, bad, ugly and epic. I wanted my friends to have more life. All of it. With all its blessing and curses. I cannot let them down again. So excuse me while I make crazy decisions, huge mistakes, irresponsible choices. So I won’t have a fancy house, and a fancy car thank you very much…… an you will all have to excuse me while I walk to work greeting beggars and the mentally ill along with the rich and powerful. Excuse me while I choose to backpack some exotic 3rd world island with nothing but a prayer and a camera instead of buying a new wardrobe, excuse me while I love someone so deeply that it seems a tad unhealthy. Excuse me while I choose a calling rather than a professional career.

…… I’m going to live. However that comes.
Rosie, AJ …… I am going to live beautifully, hideously, stupidly and in the most epic manner. Remembering you always.


I Choose to say Goodbye

With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.
Wayne Dyer


Yesterday, being a rather emotional day, one where I didn’t have the control I normally have, where music says too much, and you grieve the people you miss and you cry for no reason and every reason, I was taught two lessons, by two very different people. Both have completely different roles in my life, one who probably knows everything about me, inside and out, who once saved me from myself and then proceeded to break me in a way I hadn’t quite broken before. The other someone who I have met, briefly and occasionally, and with whom I have a somewhat written relationship, a fellow lover of beautiful things and wondrous words, someone, far more intelligent than I, which I am loathe to admit by the way.


Two people in polar opposite ways changed my day. Both brought me to tears. The person who knows me best, again tossed me aside, and the other drew me in. One made me feel that my emotions were nothing more than a waste of time and my tears ran at his cold indifference, and the other, whose words, so beautiful, cut so close to home that my emotion spilled into tears of relief.


I’m a firm believer that everyone plays a part in teaching you, in helping you choose who you want to be. I made two choices last night, one to let go of the person who brings me to my knees in tears and grief more often than I would ever admit, my shower having seen far more than my naked body, but that of my naked grieving soul too many times to count. The other was to be grateful for a friend, although not known well to me socially but known to me in understanding and sharing.


The lessons.


  1. When people show you their true colours, don’t try to re-paint them.

  2. When people show you their souls, appreciate how much of a gift that is.


So this morning when I awoke, the pain had dulled to a mere sporadic throb and I looked to the day realising that I have to keep moving forward, I’ve done it before, I have always done it. I have overcome struggles that have required me to focus on positivity and courage and perseverance and more than that, hope. I have survived so far, I have not died from a broken heart or illnesses that could have taken me, I have not ever fallen down and failed to get back up. I am blessed. I am truly blessed. And if I am to be truly honest, the people who knelt down to help me up have been the ones least expected, as have the ones that have knocked me down and tried to keep me there.


So it is time. I may take the person I have loved and lost with me, but only in memory and in heart, there is no space in my life for him any more. In the words of probably one of the most incredible songs ever written:


Time to say goodbye paesi che non ho mai
Veduto e vissuto con te adesso si li vivro
Con te partiro su navi per mari che, io lo so
No, no, non esistono piu con te io li rivivro

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