Tuesday 30 June 2009

Tears and Laughter

Loads to say - have been on hols and will catch up with everything else asap, but this post is just a memorial to my Best Friend Forever, Pat Powell, who died suddenly 8 years ago today.

It was an equally gloriously scorching June day in 2001 and I wasn't there. I was helping ma-in-law move house and didn't know. It seems impossible that I've now lived for 8 years without Pat. It also seems impossible that my life has changed so much without her. I've had to do so many things differently. Having a Pat-less life was something I'd never even thought about. No-one prepares you for losing a best friend.

We'd been best friends since we were 16 - we did everything together, worked together, went on holiday together, saw each other all the time and spoke on the phone several times a day. Pat was my social life; she was my happiness and laughter; and the kindest, most loyal and generous person I've ever known. Today I cried for her - I still miss her so much - I've got loads of friends, really good friends who I cherish, but you only ever have one lifelong best friend - and there'll never be another Pat.

Pat and I had always decided we were going to die when we were 97 and we were going to have a joint funeral with blue and yellow flowers, lots of rock music, champagne and cream slices (our favourite indulgence). So this afternoon, on this sweltering sultry day, I've been doing what I've done each June 30th for 8 years, sitting in the garden on Pat's special seat (an ancient bench, crumbling now but I'll never part with it), listening to AC/DC, drinking (warmish) champagne and eating a (very slippery and melting)cream slice, with my Californian poppies and lobelias providing the properly-hued floral background.

I raised my glass and my cream slice to her - and now I can say again on here what I said to her just now: "I miss you every day, I think about you every day, I still expect you to walk up the path, I still wait for your phone calls, I still hear your laughter. I hope you're happy - and please, please don't be resting in peace. Please be having the best time ever with loads of fun and giggling." Then I sniffled a lot -which would have made her very cross - so I came indoors to write this as a proper memorial.

We had "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone" played at her funeral - and today, for me, it's true.


Chris Stovell said...

Oh, blimey, such love in that post, Chris. Brought to tears to my eyes because my dad died in June four years ago and I know the hole he left never fills.

I'm sorry for your grief today and for the loss of your dear friend.

Miss Bliss said...

What a lovely calorie-filled tribute to Pat - and what a great way to remember her by. Hugs to you xxx

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

Oh that was so sad. Sending you big hugs to comfort you. I remember reading about Pat on your site and thought how tragic it was for her to die so young, and you do lose such a wonderful friend so suddenly.


Jan Jones said...

Oh, Chris, honey, I remember when it happened. I can't believe that was eight years ago!


Christina Jones said...

ChrisH - so sorry that it made you unhappy. So sorry about your dad. I think it's okay to remember and be sad - and then remember and be happy at the memories. love x

Claire - thank you. I know the post was pure self-indulgence and personal but as this is my first Pat-anniversary with a blog it seemed the right thing to do.

Debs - thank you. If it taught me one thing it was to make the most of every day and never take anything for granted.

Jan - thanks so much. No, I can't believe it was 8 years ago either - and thank you for your support then - and now. I fell apart quite spectacularly at the time - and you were very kind to me. Thank you. x

Colette McCormick said...

A true friend is a special gift - one to be treasured. The best tribute you can pay Pat is to remember her often, with love and with a smile on your face. It works for me.

Sheila Norton said...

What a wonderful tribute to your friend. I can only say - you were blessed to have such a lovely friendship. And she was (and is) blessed to have you for a friend. xx

Margaret McDonagh said...

Just a quick note to send all love and big [[[hugs]]]. I was, as always, thinking of you and Pat yesterday.

Take care,
Much love,
Mags xxxx

Pat Posner said...



Lesley Cookman said...

I remember it, too, Chris. I even remember where in the office I was sitting and on which old Mac I read it. It doesn't seem possible it's so long ago.

And I know what you mean. Despite our - um - differences, I still want to ring late dh to tell him things, discuss the kids and, yes, bawl him out for dying.

On a more cheerful note, June 30th was my grandson's 3rd birthday. I had warm champagne, too.

Loads and loads of love.

katiebird said...

Chris, I'm so sorry for your loss. I remember that you dedicated Tickled Pink to Pat (and wrote about her on your website) and I think of your friendship with her every time I reread it (It's one of my favorite of your books).

And I'm sorry that I've been out of touch and missed the day you posted this -- it was my husband's birthday so I won't forget next year.


Kath McGurl said...

Lovely memorial to your friend. Hugs.

Karen said...

What a lovely and touching tribute - it definitely brought a tear to my eye :o)

alzamina said...

Had to re-read Tickled Pink in her honour. Get my results from my tests tomorrow - fingers crossed!

Christina Jones said...

Gonna be a writer; Olivia; Mags; Pat; Lesley; katiebird; womag; karen; alzamina - THANK YOU so much for understanding and for all your kind and lovely thoughts - and sorry if I made you sad. Also sorry for not responding sooner - Pat would have been CROSS. She hated bad manners...
Alzamina - also sending all good wishes and cyber hugs your way for the test results.