When anniversaries aren’t a good thing.

This morning I woke up in the worst mood with an awful headache. Morning cuddles with Eva was nice but as we got ready my patience was almost non-existent and mamma had her snappy hat on. Normally when I get to her dagis (Swedish nursery) I de-stress en-route because I’m going to miss her while I’m at work, so I give her lots of kisses and cuddles. But not this morning. I snapped at her again and then gave her a kiss and cuddle, thank god my darling girl is so full of love she hugged me tight and said älskar dig mamma (I love you in Swedish) I said love you too and left for the day, her smile still not easing me.

…it gets hard to breathe deeply to calm myself

I get to work head still pounding have a little small talk with the colleagues and start working. After an hour I can’t think straight – eyes keep welling up even though I am not consciously thinking of what happened 7 years ago in the early hours of this day.
Chest is tight and it’s hard to breathe deeply to calm myself.
Try to compose myself in the bathroom, let out a few tears while using the toilet – then I start laughing, I can hear Carli laughing at me telling me to behave myself crying on the toilet “come on Leesh”😂. Then I get a message from two friends who acknowledge todays anniversary and the tears are getting stronger and harder to fight off. Then my baby girls favourite Moana song comes on the radio and I am smiling and breathing a little deeper. Thank you Carli.
Carli was more than a friend she was family …
7 years ago I lost one of my closets friends to cancer – let me just say FUCK YOU CANCER!!! Carli was more than a friend she was family, fully in with my crazy lot as I was with hers. We did family parties, dinners, weddings and christenings together. The loyalty was tested but luckily unbreakable.
When I bought my house she practically moved in with the other member of Three Stooges Justine 😆
She was a judgemental truth canon, with dry humour and the silliest humour, my dancing /fashion partner, and so mischevious at times.
When she was first told by the doctors there was a strong chance she had cancer I remember the call from her mum like it was yesterday, everything slowed down. I left work and headed straight to Carli’s flat, we laughed, got slightly emotional and then promised to kick its arse if it was party like there was no tomorrow if it wasn’t.
Well it was cancer … so we pulled on our game faces with hers and partied like there was no tomorrow anyway at a club called The Hill if I remember rightly.
it’s not supposed to be this way
She fought hard but I honestly believe she knew it wasn’t going to be a fight she could win. There was one conversation we had that echos in my head often afterwards I said to myself “it’s not supposed to be this way”. I wont go into it but that was the vibe she left me with so I did the Leesh thing of smiling for her and saying she would fight it anyway.
It was during this time that I had been made redundant and she pulled the info out of me. There she was in the hospital having these profound almost seer like predictions about her mortality and she still manages to read me as she always had and let me unburden.
I swore that day I would never do that again. While she was sick I would never bring my problems no matter how important they were to me to her shoulders. Hell no and if I couldn’t do it I would distance myself until I could – Jesus how I regret that so very very much.
Today I have replayed August 8th – I got the call from her sister to say she was very sick at the hospital, the taxi I called seemed to take hours to arrive to drive me from London to Slough. The ride to the hospital is a bit of a blur with some vague memories of crying, calling my mum and getting updates from the family at the hospital.
But I remember as clear as day the moment I realised it was more than likely the last time I would see her. I did the usual Leesh thing of masking my feelings with gentle comedy. Shielding myself from what I was really feeling no doubt.
I didn’t cry in the taxi back to London I made a promise started that good old bargaining tactic:
  • If I dont cry now and put all my energy to Carli she’ll make it.
  • I’ll go to church every Sunday if she makes it.
  • I’ll pledge so much money to cancer research if she makes it.
  • I’ll stop focusing on this stupid negative work issues, quit my job and just spend time with Carli while I look for a new one.
Well it didn’t work our beautiful dear Carli passed away. When I saw the message a knife ripped through me and I couldn’t breathe. I had to go back to sleep and then later I woke up crying.
Cry, scream, stare, repeat…..
August 9th – cry, scream, stare, repeat – that’s all I remember.  I was so angry, angry at cancer, angry at the doctors who were meant to save her, angry at the people who live their lives so wickedly hurting others but were still alive, angry at me for distancing myself until I was in a better head space for her. I was angry at god and for a long time I found it suffocating to be in church. How could I stand in church when I physically hated him for taking my Carli Jane from me, from all of us. How could I not hate a god that had caused so many people I loved so much pain that would never truly go away.
Then I would ask myself do I deserve to feel like this? Yes I loved her so very very much and some of the best times of my life were with her but, she wasn’t my flesh and blood, not my sister, daughter, niece, granddaughter, cousin.
I had lost family members before cousins, my great grandmothers and uncles but this time it was different.
When she died I remember the moment I knew a piece of me had left with her. The pain was unbearable and the physical ache was excruciating nothing I had ever felt before. Over the years it has become a dull ache, but an ache that can physically knock me for six at times, nonetheless. When I think it has healed there are days like today that physically knock me off my feet and remind me I’m not healed. I’m not whole, I’ve just learned to carry on, meet her in my dreams and live my life like she’s watching.

I’m not whole, I’ve just learned to carry on, meet her in my dreams and live my life like she’s watching.

A few months had passed and I had gone to Thailand for Xmas and New Year. I returned to work but my anger  getting worse and my drinking had increased a lot. I started seeing a therapist and I asked him the same question should I feel like this bad she wasn’t my blood and other people saw her more in the last few months.
He said, “you don’t have to measure, justify, or validate the relationship you both had and how much she meant to you.” For many reasons it has taken many years to understand what he meant.
I always say she was too good for this lifetime and as I see more horrors unfold in the world it strengthens that belief. But do I wish she was here instead, laughing, dancing, shopping and living her life as she was planning too before she was diagnosed infitity percent!!
 Last night was the first time in a few years, on this day, I didn’t wake up mid morning and struggle to fall back to sleep. Instead I had the bad head, bad stomach and lack of patience. I read that Anniversary reactions “are considered the re-experience of a prior traumatic event and when they do occur, a person who may be highly functioning can be overcome and feel powerlessness, even immobilized”.
Explains a lot – Love you darling miss you always. Loving, laughing and living for you!!


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