Today I’ll be heading to the beach as I’ve done on this day for the past two years.
You see, today it’s two years since my friend Ned died and Ned loved the beach.
Her death was expected. She’d been suffering from breast cancer for a while and was told just before Christmas there was nothing more the doctors could do.
Although I’d been at her bedside only days before, almost wishing she didn’t have to suffer any more, the doctors news didn’t make it any easier.
‘Fleur, I can’t even scratch my head,’ she told me. And she couldn’t. The cancer had attacked every part of her, and the only movement she had was her head, and that was about two inches worth of movement. I had to scratch the itch for her and as I did, I could feel tennis ball size lumps. All cancer.
You can read more about her story here.
We watched in fear as she battled to stay with us, but slowly we saw the cancer spread and eat away at her vibrant personality and her body until she was wafer thin.
Two years on I still think about her every day. I miss her. There are things I want to tell her and I pick up the phone to ring but she’s not there.
My grief is only a drop compared to what her family are still feeling and that is the reason I wanted to tell you about Ned. She was in tune with her body and she was at the doctor the minute she found that small lump in the side of her breast. My message today is please, please, for yourself, your family and your friends, take a moment and stop. Realise how you are feeling – is there something different, a lump or a spot that wasn’t there last time you looked? Maybe just head to the doctor for a check up. Ned would want you to.
This is one verse from a poem called ‘Tomorrows’ by Simon Bridges. The whole poem was in the Order of Service for Ned’s funeral.
‘And I know I shall visit those places that we loved,
And walk by the fields and the sea,
Where you and I spent our happiest hours,
And somehow you will be there with me.’
Neddy, I still miss you, but I have the beach and I have memories. You would be so proud of your boys.