The friend that made me me – Emma

The first piece that Emma wrote for us was for International Women’s Day. It was brilliant. And when she sent it in, she mentioned that she had a ‘friend that made me me’ piece that she was working on, if we were still interested in them. Of course I replied and said that we would LOVE a friend that made me piece – it’s been a while since we’ve had one, and they are always so beautiful .

So a month or so later, Emma sent this piece in. And it blew me away. I’m not going to say much more, because Emma tells this story so beautifully, so eloquently, that I don’t want to detract from it, but I urge you to read this when you have time to really sit and appreciate it. So Emma….it’s over to you.

When I first saw the ‘friend that made me me’ series here on Any Other Woman, there was someone that immediately sprung to mind. I count myself lucky enough to have many great friends that have helped me through the highs and the lows that life throws at us; great friends (and family) that have all played an instrumental part in making me the woman I am today. This obviously makes it very hard to select just one, but the particular person that I wanted to write about today is particularly apt as the ‘friend that made me me’ because she has known me all of my life, been there for me all of my life through good times and bad.

Lou and I have always been proud of the fact that we have been friends for so long. We have had many a debate about whether we are each other’s ‘oldest ever friend’ or ‘longest ever friend’.  Either way it is all semantics because we have been in it for the long haul, through thick and thin, best friends from the start.

On occasion we have doubted that we retained that closeness at certain stages in our lives but I have letters, Facebook messages and texts from throughout the years to prove we did – the ‘love you always’ signoffs and the regular declarations: ‘you’re one of the best friends I’ve ever had’ no matter what age.

My memory isn’t my strong point and there are so many things that I wish I could recall from our younger years, but a game that we used to play at primary school  always sits vividly in my mind. A little ditty that we called ‘we obey the king’s rules’ involved dancing from alternate corners of the school netball court, spinning each other around in the middle and dancing back to the opposite corner, whilst singing ‘we obey the king’s rules, we obey the kings rules, every word that he says.’ I hope that it was quite quickly after this that we both acquired a slightly better grasp of the English language and discovered that the word we were looking for was ‘disobey’, but we felt terribly rebellious at the time.

Lou has often delighted in sharing stories from my younger years about me kissing drain pipes (pretending it was Robbie Williams). An odd habit, I know, children do funny things don’t they?! But some might say that at least it demonstrates my loyalty. Robbie still holds a prized spot on my ‘top 5’ list (Ross from Friends stylee) twenty years down the line.

Loyalty is most certainly a trait that I learnt from Lou.  Throughout the years we have both had other friends come and go, such is life, but we have also both picked up other ‘keepers’ along the way.  Lou has always made time for all of her ‘besties’, no matter what – making memories, celebrating successes and milestones, lifting us when we are down or just some plain and simple partying.

Lou is the friend that warms up the bed with the power of her own breath on a February night when I complain about being cold.

The friend that sits up with me at 3.00am, after a night of full-on drinking and dancing, to help coach me through an impending job interview. A job that I got incidentally, mainly thanks to Lou’s help and encouragement, and that I love.

The friend that indulges my sudden and intense cupcake craving by driving me to the nearest quality cupcake selling establishment immediately and regaling me with her impeccable rapping skills for entertainment on the way.

The friend that has been known to send daily updates on the comedy chapters to be included in a book she instructed me to ghost write about her adventures (and misadventures). A potential chapter entitled ‘special muffs’ is perhaps the most appropriate one that I can share, so you can see it might be a book with an age restriction (though actually ‘special muffs’ are her girls, her closest friends, a title I am proud to count myself amongst).

The friend whose hand I felt reach for mine at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, to get a first hug and kiss of 2013, and a thank you for all the great times in 2012.

The friend who has been mine, and so many others’, biggest supporter in anything and everything I do.

From Lou I have learnt humility, wit, compassion, commitment, resilience. Some of my best dance moves. To laugh through the good times and the bad. That indecision is ok when you really don’t mind either way. That life is too short to pair socks. That pictures savour the best memories and create the best gifts. That it is far better to spend your time with those that are willing to make effort with you than waste it on those that don’t. To dream big and never stop trying. To woman up when things get tough. That you can blow up an airbed with a hair-dryer, but only on the cold setting. That Justin Bieber may be a questionable human being but his music is actually pretty contagious.  That we can do anything when we put our minds to it. That DIY is not just a man’s job.  That friendship and love truly does last forever.

And so much more besides.

My ‘friend that made me me’ has been one of my very best friends all of my life, but writing this to share with you today is very bitter sweet for me because my lovely friend, that has played such an important part in my life, is now with me only in spirit following a tragic car accident at the start of this year.

I only say this after explaining why Lou is the ‘friend that made me me’, not for dramatic effect, but because I wanted you to understand why she was such an amazing person. How she has shaped me as a person and has been such an integral part of my life, rather than focusing on her no longer being with us, in person.  I wanted to share with you our story and some of my fond memories because I know that, even though she is not here with me in person, Lou will continue to be a ‘friend that makes me me’ for the rest of my life and she will continue to inspire me.

As soon as I find my way through the dark days of heartache at losing someone so special, I will make sure that I spend every single day ensuring that I do everything I can to make her proud. I will make sure that everything I do, I do with twice the enthusiasm and double the smiles because I will be doing it all for the both of us.

Categories: Family, Friends and Relationships, Friend That Made Me Me
29 interesting thoughts on this

27 Comments

  1. Posted May 16, 2013 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Wow. I’m almost speechless. Lou sounds like an amazing friend and this is an incredible tribute. I am so awfully, awfully sorry that she is no longer here in person.

    Sending you love and strength in your time of grieving xx

  2. Leni
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    What an incredibly beautiful, moving and brave bit of writing Emma. And such a fantastic sentiment at the end. My thoughts are with you and all Lou’s family and friends. As Fee said above, you have done her proud with this tribute. Thankyou for sharing. Lots of love xx

  3. Chirsty
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Oh my God Emma, this is such a beautiful and heart-wrenching piece. My heart goes out to you with huge hugs. There will be so so many ways you will remember Lou, but I want to thank you for remembering her like this for all of us. X

  4. Posted May 16, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much guys. It means a lot to me to share what an incredible person Lou was so thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. Your hugs and kind words are very gratefully received xxx

  5. Sara
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Emma, I’m so sorry. Sending you so much love.

  6. Posted May 16, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Emma, I’m so sorry you lost Lou. You bring her back through your words, for every single person who reads this post. We are all better people for having read this. Thank you.

  7. Posted May 16, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Oh Emma.
    What a beautiful and brave piece of writing. Try and take strength from your memories and the time you got to spend together.
    Lou sounds like such an incredible friend. Sending you all the love xxx

  8. Jean
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Awh Emma I just read this article – very moving and powerful and of course it made me cry! Such a lovely reminder of Lou. Thank you xxxxxxx

  9. Posted May 16, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Emma what a lovely piece of writing, I can see why you would want to tell us all about Lou. Sending you hugs and love xx

  10. Kandra
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    oh my. I am so sorry for your loss Emma.x

  11. Lee-Anne
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Emma, what an amazing piece of writing. You can tell how special she was from your heartfelt words. Thank you for sharing xx

  12. Posted May 16, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    What a wonderful tribute to an amazing friend. I’m so sorry for your loss x

  13. Posted May 16, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Emma – I’m so sorry that you have lost your friend – this is a wonderful tribute to her. Thank you for sharing it with us

    K x

  14. Sarah
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    So utterly tragic, but as others have said, a lovely tribute. You’re very brave Emma x

  15. Sharon
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Your post has blown me away, your tribute to Lou is brilliant. Your writing is so good, and shows the strength of your friendship. Sending you lots of love xxxxxxxxxxx

  16. Posted May 16, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    This is a beautiful and touching tribute to your amazing best friend Emma. It’s a poignant reminder of all the amazing women who are, and have been in our lives. I am so sorry for your loss, thank you for sharing at such a difficult time. All my love x

  17. vicki moore
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Emma, this is beautiful! You are so talented with words and it really does capture your friendship together. Lots of love & hugs, Vicki xxxx

  18. Posted May 16, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    I gasped out loud when I read that you had lost your beautiful friend Emma, I’m so sorry for your loss. This is a lovely tribute to your friendship, and the photos of Lou are absolutely gorgeous, you have some lovely memories to treasure for ever. Thank you for sharing her with us.

  19. Johann
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    And you know Em, that she will always think the same of you too xx

  20. Vivienne
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope Lou’s parents can read this and see how much she was loved

  21. Posted May 17, 2013 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Gosh, I don’t know what to say. What a lovely piece and such wonderful memories, and such a heartbreaking outcome. I hope your memories of her keep you going through the tough times, and as so many others have said, you’ve already done her proud by sharing this with us.

  22. Posted May 17, 2013 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for your comments everyone. It really means a lot xx

  23. Beth
    Posted May 17, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Emma this is a wonderful tribute. Sending so much love. Beth x

  24. Posted May 17, 2013 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Oh bloody hell- just seen your tweet as missed this yesterday, am now balling my eyes out.
    Such a beautiful post for your friend and your last paragraph is now etched on my brain.
    Lots of love to you xx

  25. Amanda M
    Posted May 17, 2013 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    Oh goodness, I didn’t see that coming. I’m so sorry that you’ve lost someone so special.

  26. Rach M
    Posted May 18, 2013 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Oh Emma. I’m so sorry for your loss too. What a fabulous tribute to Lou. Xx

  27. Posted June 5, 2013 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    I just saw this, and was curious why you suddenly dropped off, but I understand now. Friendship isn’t as common as people like to believe, and my heart is broken for you as you mourn your loss.

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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