Lianne, two years on

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Dearest Lianne,

1. It’s been two years since you died. Two fucking years. It feels like a lifetime. It feels like a week.

2. I miss you.

3. August used to be my favourite month. My birthday! Summer! No hellhole that I will never escape from aka school! You remember 🙂 Now I dread August because I know what’s coming and the deep well of grief that I will topple into.

4. Next week I will be 32, and you will forever be frozen in amber at 30. Part of me realises you’d be amused by this. At the thought of yourself young and beautiful whereas I get older, fatter, more wrinkled.

5. I read this advice column again and again. This sentence in particular hits me like a blow: ‘It has been healing to me to accept in a very simple way that my mother’s life was 45 years long, that there was nothing beyond that. There was only my expectation that there would be—my mother at 89, my mother at 63, my mother at 46. Those things don’t exist. They never did.’

6. I haven’t yet accepted that your life was 30 and a half years long. That there never was or will be anything more. It was only my expectation, and yours, that we would sit with Debs, Ros and Greg in the nursing home and cackle about the male nurses. You will never be 70 or 50 or even 31 – and it breaks my fucking heart again.

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7.  I think about you at the oddest times when I see a grumpy cat that looks like you, a kitkat, or watching Sleepy Hollow and thinking ‘I have to tell Lianne about this’ and then remembering I can’t.

8. I collect quotes about grief like a macabre magpie. Why? Because knowing that other people ‘get it’ makes me feel less alone.

‘It turns out that Hollywood has grief and loss all wrong. The waves and spikes don’t arrive predictably in time or severity. It’s not an anniversary that brings the loss to mind, or someone else’s reminiscences, nor being in a restaurant where you once were together. It’s in the grocery aisle passing the romaine lettuce and recalling how they learned to make Caesar salad, with garlic-soaked croutons, because it was the only salad you’d agree to eat. Or when you glance at a rerun in an airport departure lounge and it’s one of the episodes that aired in the midst of a winter afternoon years earlier, an afternoon that you two had passed together. Or on the rise of a full moon, because they used to quote from The Sheltering Sky about how few you actually see in your entire life. It’s not sobbing, collapsing, moaning grief. It’s phantom-limb pain. It aches, it throbs, there’s nothing there, and yet you never want it to go away.’

9. I’m celebrating my birthday this year. The first year I celebrated, numb to what had happened waiting for the feelings to rush back in. Last year I cancelled all plans and just spent time with HWSNBN who didn’t mind when I started crying into my meal. This year I’m going out with the other people who knew you and loved you. I’m going to drink big fruity cocktails, dance to cheesy music, and if I cry, and I will, I’m going to pretend that my tears are glitter.

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10. I have been and always shall be your friend. I’m glad to have known you. Thank you for that gift my friend. Thank you for everything.

love Row xxx

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