I am sitting here wondering how to write what I want to write next without seeming trite or cliched. There is no easy way to do it.
A great friend of mine has just found out, after four years of valiantly battling against cancer, that she is losing her fight. The doctors cannot do anymore, despite yet another round of radical chemotherapy and radiotherapy,and the outlook is bleak short of a miracle.
L is a woman who has packed more into her half century than many do in a lifetime, a true party animal who doesn't actually drink but still has the best time, entertains and is a dynamic mother of four. On her 50th birthday, she invited her closest girlfriends over for lunch. We arrived to be greeted by semi-naked male models in bow ties and not much else wandering around with trays of champagne. Then the belly dancers arrived and we all had to get over ourselves and join in for an impromptu dance class, followed by more champagne, stupendous fish pie, and a long, unusual and utterly memorable afternoon full of laughter which ended only when we all reluctantly headed off for the school run. It was one of the most stylish, fun and hysterical lunches I have ever had the pleasure of being invited to, and it summed up the hostess perfectly.
Over the last two years, we have seen each other intermittently, always planning a weekend down here which somehow hasn't happened, due to treatment, house renovations and other irritations which always seem to get in the way. And even during her bleakest, most desperate times, L has still somehow found the time and energy to send a lovely long thoughtful message asking how life is, full of funny anecdotes about her hugely talented kids (who could out-perform the cast of Glee) and generally make you feel she is thinking of you.
She refused to miss my 40th birthday party even though she had only just been diagnosed and had started treatment a few short weeks before, and came along to dinner full of humour and life, entertaining my old school friends who had no idea of what she was going through. None of this can do her justice really.....you kind of have to know her to appreciate her but I hope this gets across a tiny little smidgeon of just how special she is.