It would be my friend Eileen's 85th birthday today. She passed away in
September, just days before I was supposed to meet up with her in London.
We became friends 12 years ago now. She was 'the old lady' who lived in
the basement of our Victorian redbrick in South Hampstead, London. (We
lived in the top floor flat.)
When my eldest started nursery I found myself at a loss. For two years she'd
been with me constantly and I no longer knew who I was without her by my
side. I wandered into the cafe across the road and there was Eileen.
We talked about books and social justice issues, philosophy and art... In
many ways she brought me back to myself.
Over the last 10 years or so we've met up every year when I've travelled over
there for the trade fair. And throughout those years we have exchanged
countless letters. Eileen hated computers and loved the written word. She would
send a fabulous array of clippings on subjects she knew I was interested in and
we'd have these amazing debates over issues via letter.
She was a prolific writer of novels too. Every couple of months there'd be a
bulging A4 brown envelope in my letterbox with the latest installment from
I still can't believe she's gone... and I miss her. It sets me to thinking about the
special people who come into our lives... Older people who have so much to
share with those willing to listen. I was fortunate enough to have four people like
that in my life, and now they are all gone.
Sorry, I'm getting a bit soppy here, aren't I? I could ramble on for ages but I guess
I'll leave it there...
Do you have someone special like this in your life?
Feel free to remember them in the comments :)