Last year a very good friend of my husband died. She was 37. She had been his girlfriend for 18 months when they were in their 20s. She’d moved back to Austria and they’d stayed in touch. She, her husband and two small children came to our wedding and she was hands down one of the most beautiful women inside and out that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet.
When I started seeing my then boyfriend I was very insecure, especially about “the ex”. She was blonde, VERY tall-6 foot and very, very slim (the antithesis of me), she was a language teacher and also a model. Initially I couldn’t see past the beauty – it made me very nervous, I couldn’t believe my boyfriend could fall in love with ME after someone like HER. Then I met her when she visited the UK. I was still jealous, but she really was just SO lovely, she put me totally at ease.
She and I struck up an intermittent online friendship, which grew more after we’d both had children. She was obsessed with fashion and modelling she would tell me. She ate very little, exercised lots and was incredibly slender. She was also a VERY happy woman, with so much love in her life. Her children (6 and 4) were her life. But I’ve been wondering how much of that life she had spent caring about her weight and her looks. I can’t presume to know, I just remember she was often on “green tea detox diets” and my husband said she lived on coffee and cigarettes with the odd bit of cake when they were together.
She died suddenly, had a heart attack. It’s a tragedy that left my husband and I shaken and tearful for a very long time. I know he misses her in a way I never could.
For my part, I had a very different relationship, she made me feel included, she was incredibly kind. I want to honour her memory by continuing that kindness, by recognising the fortune I have in seeing my son grow, for him to have me around. My heart aches for her two, for her partner and family. She has gone, but I have learned so many important lessons from her loss, our loss. Focus on the joy, focus on the relationships that matter. Take the time to laugh, to relax, to be comfortable in your own skin (my god, I know this is no small feat for many of us).
The thing is, I feel certain that not one of the hundreds of friends and family she had are missing her waist size, I’m certain they aren’t the slightest bit interested in how much she weighed. They miss HER, her laughter, her sense of wonder at gadgets, her penchant for BIG jewellery.
That’s what will continue through us, my husband and I will not forget that and we’ll carry those kindnesses on for her.