It’s been seven weeks since we returned from Sorrento and seven weeks since my dear friend Emma died. Adey & I received the news that Emma had passed away whilst we were sat in our hotel room getting ready to start our day. Some phone calls change your life, this was one of them.
Ultimately, it was cancer that stole her away in the early hours of Wednesday the 13th of April 2016. I don’t want to talk about how she left us but I will always be inspired by how she lived.
For the past two years, I have supported Emma in every way I could. I became her ‘chemo buddy’ which if I’m honest was more or less a guaranteed three weekly sessions of Trivial Pursuits. We only ever played whilst on the chemo ward but we played it like we meant it. Sometimes we might have a cheeky game of Who Want’s To Be A Millionaire but it was always ‘Triv’ we went back to.
Before my first visit to the chemo day case ward I had lots of ideas of how it would be, I didn’t know what to expect but expected the worst but that wasn’t what I found. The chemo day case unit at the City Hospital in Nottingham is in general a positive place. Yes, I said that. The nurses are wonderful in nursing terms but, in human terms, I would say they must be pretty special people out there on civvy street. They are kind, fun, professional and unflappable. How they don’t lose it and shout FOR GOD’S SAKE WILL SOMEONE TURN OFF THAT BEEPING THING I will never know. I am not cut from the same cloth.
Obviously, the patients that find themselves on the chemo ward are there because they have cancer and a lot of people are clearly quite poorly, but I can honestly say I learned a lot about the human spirit sat on that ward. I learned that people can and do find humor in the most challenging of situations, that people can and do draw from some hidden reserve of selflessness when everything in life is pushing them to the limit of their own existence. People were digging deep and Emma for one was not going to take cancer lying down; she was still working right up to her death. She was hugely conscientious about work, a bit like the queen of Eon; she had an example to set and I can’t imagine many folks in this millennia will live up to that legacy.
It might seem strange to dedicate a post about my trip to Italy to Emma but it makes perfect sense to me. Being friends with Emma, especially through cancer has taught me to live mindfully, to be present; to not think about where I’ve been or where I’m headed but to enjoy the here and now. Emma didn’t talk about it she just did it, she truly lived. So, I dedicate this to her as Sorrento is the place I was when she passed away and Sorrento was the place that I made (my) lifelong pledge to my lifelong mate. Emma, I promise not to miss a thing, to live as fully as I can, to grab life and make it happen. To laugh and love and be loved, to give and receive in equal measure. To be more ‘out’ and not so ‘in’. To not give a damn about what people think. To travel and see and appreciate the world and its people and its wee beasties. Thank you for the life lessons my friend, I won’t waste a second of it I promise.
So here it is then, my dedication to my friend Emma Jane Moore; she of the legendary rock-skid. The girl who was rarely serious. The girl who was more fun than the funnest person on their funnest day. The girl who showed us all how to go well.
I’m sorry you didn’t make it to Italy mate but I looked and I saw and I was in awe and I had you in my heart every second. You are there in every pixel my dear friend.