On Thursday I drove to the Valleys to drop my girls off at Big Welsh’s parents so I could nip to Cardiff and see Charch my poorly friend. She was all cwtched up in her bed and she looked peaceful. I was glad I was able to hurtle into Wales armed with bundles of love, cheery messages from school friends and her friends around the world and was able to chat one more time about her love of power ballads; sharing one last memory with her.
After spending precious time with her and her family I went to Whitchurch to see another schoolfriend and then zoomed back up the A470 and went to sleep. Whilst we were sleeping Charch died, very peacefully, at 4.06am on Friday morning, surrounded by her family.
Numb. That’s how we all feel. We knew it was coming, we knew it wouldn’t be long, but it’s wrong, so wrong that a bright, talented and amazing friend has died aged 45.
Over the last 7 months, since she came home, her friends have kept her spirits up with visits, cards, flowers, cakes, books, slippers, balms, socks, photo albums and CDs. Those friends have also been the most amazing and supportive network for her mum and family, it’s bittersweet that we’ve mothered a mother turning up with freezer food and cake.
In those months we’ve been making memories. We’ve cried in private and laughed with Charch, we’ve enjoyed her mum’s hospitality, we’ve hogged the fireplace sofas at New House Hotel, baggsied the sofa at The Maltsters, she’s been taken out for trips and adventures, she was surprised with a visit to a Carol Service at our old school. We’ve laughed, cried, reminisced over school days, tried to think back to our twenties, we’ve relived our thirties and celebrated into our forties as well as covering new ground, refinding old friends, sharing precious moments and above all we’ve been making precious memories.
All the while Charch has been getting more frail and weak until she slipped away gracefully and very peacefully on Friday 11 April at 4.06am aged 45.
Never once did she ask anyone for anything, at no point did she demand anything from anyone, what she did do was say “come and see me if you want to but don’t feel you have to”, she also taught us how to accept her situation.
So yes it’s a sad post but we’ve been also been memory making.
She’s brought a lot of people together again, we’ve had some brilliant weekends, I’ve spent more time in Wales than the preceding 24 years, some people who have fallen out have let bygones be bygones. Charch made this happen.
On the way home I went to Brecon to see my friend Becca in her shop and I treated myself to a bracelet. I couldn’t resist it. The wording is both apt and true.
Charch, may you rest in peace. You’ve been a great friend, you’ve been amazing and to quote a power ballad you’re the inspiration!