Nearly five years ago I had a night out in Milton Keynes that broke all the rules of CF – three of us who had become friends on the CF Trust’s messages boards (and another bunch of mates) met up for a party in town.
Toria, a long-held email acquaintance, and Jo, a young, effervescent and far-cooler-than-us teenager, hit the town harder than we probably had for a while and I’m inclined to think harder than we should have, too. Toria came back and crashed at mine, while we all promised this would be the start of many similar nights.
Now, in the space of just over a year, I’ve lost them both after having my life utterly change through my transplant. Neither of them were as lucky as me – both listed, neither got “that call”. I detailed in this post my emotions on Toria’s death, as we’d fallen – stupidly – out of touch over something that was on reflection utterly trivial and should never have come between us.
I was in touch with Jo right up to the end. Her transplant journey, although occurring a couple of years later, mirrored mine almost exactly with treatments, problems, worries and everything else. She was cared for my the same CF team in Oxford and was to be called to the same hospital for transplant.
This morning, however, she lost her fight. Buried deep in the technical rehearsal process of Wind in the Willows at the moment, I didn’t know about this until almost 10pm tonight and it has utterly shattered me.
Over the last few weeks and months, I’ve talked to Jo through all the ups and downs that come with the wait for transplant, but never for once imagined she’d be near the end. I left LIPA this evening and walked home with the night’s light rainfall mixing heavily with my tears as I thought back to that day in the mighty Oceana (pre-smoking ban and all).
Toria’s death impacted on me hard as I felt so removed from it. Jo’s has pole-axed me as I just wasn’t ready for it. Are we ever ready for the death of a beloved friend, or is it just that at some point we’re prepared?
I don’t understand how I can be presented with this chance to live my life how I want to and do all that I can when two of my friends have their chances ripped from them. It doesn’t make sense to me and I guess it never will.
I love you, Jo, you were so much more than just a friend at the end of the phone. I’ll miss you and I’ll think of you every day. The rest of my life is for you, honey – you and all the others who haven’t had the chance that I’ve been given.
Rest easy now, take a deep breath.
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