Tomorrow it will be ten years since the death of my close friend, Emily Collingridge. Can it really be so long? Attaching time to loss often feels strange: it implies distance from an event that, in reality, is always present. Years may have passed, but it is always ‘today’ that a loved one is missing.
This year also marks another significant anniversary: in May it will be five years since the death of Merryn Crofts, who also touched my life. I sadly didn’t have chance to know Merryn well, but it was a privilege to be her friend for a short time.
Emily and Merryn had spirits that shone through unimaginable pain. Even as their bodies failed and survival seemed unlikely, they never stopped hoping. The hospice team that cared for Merryn in her final months said that they had never witnessed such suffering. Emily, too, experienced a level of illness that confounded those treating her. And yet they both continued to believe that life was worth living. Right till the end, they gave something special to all around them.
Attaching time to loss often feels strange: it implies distance from an event that, in reality, is always present. Years may have passed, but it is always ‘today’ that a loved one is missing.
Their time on this earth was far too short, but had a lasting impact on me and many thousands of others. I am fortunate to now count their mothers, Jane and Clare, as my friends. Just as their daughters did before them, they too have taught me so much: about courage in darkest adversity; about finding the strength to carry on, even when the very purpose of life seems to be over.
Today I honour the memory of Emily and Merryn. I give thanks for all they brought to the world as a whole and to me personally. And I count the precious years that they and their families have lost.
They will never be forgotten.
Emily and Merryn’s stories are told in more detail on my In Memoriam page. This page has also been updated in memory of Alley Briar Daley, who sadly passed away last month.
I have also written about Emily in the following pieces:
Severe ME Awareness Day: Emily’s Appeal
Emily at 40: In Celebration and Sorrow
Image credits: Photographs courtesy of Jane Collingridge and Clare Norton
Image description: Head shots of Emily Collingridge and Merryn Crofts on a purple background, with an image of a dove and flowers. Emily’s hair is short and dark, and Merryn’s long and fair. Both are smiling happily.