The last few weeks, especially the last week has been incredibly painful for me. Our friend, ‘Angel’ has made it to St John and Elizabeth Hospital. She had one fear and that was suffering at the end, she did not want pain, and yet, that is exactly what she faced. Her worst fear, our worst fear. Pain, a battle to breathe and she had to do this mostly by herself..
I, myself, can actually not think of anything worse right now. Brutal is the word that comes to me. Helpless. Wanting to run away, waking up and realising that it is a terrible, terrible nightmare. Except, every time I woke up, I was faced with the same reality.
I woke up last night at 2am, I was wide awake and I checked my phone. I had this constant slideshow in my mind and the only picture in the slide show was Racheline, over and over and over again. I tried to interrupt, change the slideshow with my own pictures of my nieces, nature, anything, however Racheline came back and overrode it time and time again.
I then started to watch closer, deeper and inbetween the sadness, the struggle, the fight and there was love, a deep smile, an immense beauty and incredible bravery. Our friend has been and is so brave. She always held her spine tall, even though she was crumbling inside, she always smiled, even though she was in pain, she always enquired after you with a real sense of care and wanting to know, although she barely had enough energy for herself. The last time she came to us for dinner, she was dressed-up and looked beautiful, her hair done by Daniel and I commented that she looked as if she had stepped off a Vogue front cover. She told me that she wanted to make an effort for us, it was important to her. She always makes an effort for absolutely everyone.
I water the plants that we bought together, 2 and a half years ago. Racheline picked me up at 6am on a Saturday morning and she drove me to Vauxhall flower market and we chose plants together. Well, your plants are still here, Racheline and every time I water them I am going to be reminded that making an effort for your friends, for you, is absolutely worth it.
I was, and still am completely shattered. I woke up again at 4 am this morning and I had an intense physical pain in my chest, like indigestion, like an intense pressure on my chest and my heart and at moments I felt as if I could not breathe. I told myself that I’m going crazy and yet, I could not breathe properly. I got up out of bed, I opened the window, being grateful that I could get up and could open the window…. I then accepted the pain. I remembered hugging Racheline the last Sunday I saw her, 2 weeks ago. We had such a special afternoon, on her couch in the garden, we laughed, we cried, we shared. I walked out and gave her a massive ‘Suz hug’, like in a massive one. We must have stood there for what felt like forever. I walked out of the door and she called me back and she asked me to put my strong arms around her again. She squeezed my muscles and told me what a power house I was… I remember laughing out loud and then I held her and I promised her that these strong arms will hold her to the end.
Her last text to me on Saturday was “I can feel your strong arms around me’. That was the most beautiful text of my life. A promise, a held promise that literally had a meaning.
The pain that I am feeling, is my holding pain for Racheline and instead of fighting it or being scared of it, I accept it as our promise. Our burdens, our pains are heavy and hard to bear, however we will be left with only love, beauty, with being reminded to make efforts for our friends and to hold onto our promises strongly and with integrity.
Fiona’s words helped me this morning. Reminding me of all the love and joy we have shared and to inject love and wind into the wings of our Angel and to help her to go swiftly. The reminder and the knowledge that there is no boundary between our spirits, that nothing can separate our souls is what is holding me now. That and the friends that are very much real and present in my life.
You will be missed more than any words can express, and this time, I will be held by someone else’s firm arms, that is what love is.
my last painting, inspired by Racheline… she reminds me not to rush xx