We haven’t had a FTMMM for a very long time. Tish nails this one, with friendship, family, history, love.
One year ago today, Tish’s best friend Katie lost her mother to cancer. This, in all its perfection, is Tish’s tribute:
I’ve wanted to write something for AOW for a while, but there’s always a little niggle saying that what I have to say wouldn’t be good enough to be published. So it must be someone pretty special who has made me brave enough to do this. And that person is my wonderful, beautiful, oh so incredibly brave friend Katie.
I can’t ever remember I time when I haven’t known you – our mums were friends when we were in toddler group and we went to each others’ birthday parties as children. Little did we know then how much we’d come to rely on each other later on down the line.
I remember one day at high school, I fainted in a science lesson and was laying on the bed in the nurse’s room when you came in, having passed out at watching a birth video. It was just before your sister in law had Beth so I think you’d gone a bit wobbly, but we sat laughing in that room and looking after each other, making the time fly (which it always does when we get together). I love that we managed to find the exact same time to be ill enough to leave class on the same day, not that we were skiving
When we worked at the hotel together, there was so much laughter and so much fun, but underlying it all (and despite having known each other all that time) was us getting to know each other and support each other through the tears, specially when we dropped food on people after working 7 days a week at Christmas on top of college and exams. There are songs that I still can’t hear without being transported back to the middle of the function room at midnight, waiting for the end of the disco and the customers to leave. New York New York always puts a smile on my face remembering that no matter how bad the night, the two of us had helped each other through it. When we laid the tables for your wedding this year I was transported right back there to the happy times we shared and the chats we had about our problems and dramas that made the early hours of the morning pass a bit quicker. It always seemed like we could solve the world’s problems just by having a chat about it.
When we went away to different universities, I’d almost prepared myself to grow apart from you, but I am so so happy that it didn’t happen and that somehow the distance made us closer. I could go on for ever about memories that the two of us share, memories that are defining moments of our teens and twenties as we both grew into the women our mums were hoping we’d be when they watched us at toddler group.
So why have I picked you to be the friend that made me me? It’s hard to articulate exactly how much you mean to me. We don’t speak every day, we hardly talk on the phone and sometimes with the distance and busyness of our lives we don’t see each other from month to month. But this last year has been such a massive challenge for both of us in very different ways and the way you have dealt with your mum being ill and adjusting to life without her has reminded me exactly what it is that is so special about you. There is nothing you won’t do for other people, even in the worst times you’re looking out for other people and making sure you are there to support them. You take whatever life gives you and you put a smile on your face and go out and beat everything that could beat you – all the fundraising efforts for cancer research in the last year have proved again how brave and selfless you are because you want to make things better for other people, even as you work through the painful experience of cancer taking away your most special person.
My challenge this year has been motherhood, and I am so proud that my little girl gets to have her aunty Katie there from day one – godmother and role model. When she grows up, you are a shining example of how she can be whatever she wants, you are so driven and ambitious that she can look to you as a true heroine getting what she wants. It’s like we’ve come full circle with you there to support her and me right from the start just like our mums did.
You spoke so brilliantly at your wedding this June and I was so full of pride for you in how confident and strong you were when you spoke about your mum and marriage. I’m so happy that you get to continue your adventure with your lovely husband by your side. You have found someone who matches you so beautifully that I can’t help but be thrilled for you that every day you will wake up with someone so good for you.
So in summary (and this may well be long because let’s face it, me and you are incapable of a short discussion) I am incredibly lucky to have had so many years of friendship with you. I still treasure the letters we sent each other at uni and I know that there are so many experiences that I wouldn’t have got through the same without you. I’m sure lots of people feel the same about the friend they’ve had since childhood but I love how I can look up to you and look after you in equal measure and you do the exact same for me.
Your mum was so proud of you and I’m sure she’s looking down with a glow of how wonderful a friend you are because she knew, as we do, that the relationships you make and nurture are the most important things in life, that no amount of money could possibly buy.
You’re the friend who is worth millions to me.