Wednesday, November 9, 2011


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
her oeuvre. 

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 :)


Flaming Nora said...

very sad and moving. I hope every one has people like this in their lives, and yes they do pass on, but on day may be you will be sitting somewhere quietly musing on the meaning of life and in wanders a lost soul......

teddybearswednesday said...

OH Kylie I'm so sorry you've lost a dear mate.
But what a gift your friendship and bond has been for both of you.
big love to you xoox

Unknown said...

how sad.

She sounds amazing.

I miss my grandmother. She was an amazing seamstress, she was fearless and tough, but tender and thoughtful too. She travelled the world.

She left me too soon.

Elle and Lou said...

Hi Kylie,
My friend and I were talking about just this type of thing this morning at work. How timely and uncanny. What a special friend you had in her. I really enjoy your blog and am a fellow creative soul of Brissy!Lou

Kate Kelleher said...

Sad words Kylie, although I am glad you had such a colourful soul mate, she sounded divine x

Ingrid Mida said...

Dear Kylie,
From your description, Eileen was a real personality and she will live on in your memory and in this post.
I too have friends of all ages from 22 to 82... Some I don't see often but each one is a treasure.
Live your life well and then you will honour Eileen's memory. She seems like the type of person who would not want you to miss her. Maybe you can find a young mom and engage her in conversation just as she did with you.

june at noon said...

What a special relationship! I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. She sounds like an amazing lady. Who knows, someday maybe you'll be someone else's Eileen!

annamaria potamiti said...

I am sorry that you lost such a special friend Kylie- But it's also so lovely that you had that unique relationship with her for all so many years- I miss my grandmothers and often 'feel' them in my head and heart- they never really leave us do they?

belinda marshall said...

sorry to hear that you have lost her ~ it's such a disorientating thing to go through.
and sad that you have lost all 4.
for some reason this has me thinking of 'the summer without men' which i'm not yet finished. . .

blue moss said...

i'm so sorry....
am so glad for your lovely friendship and your sweet memories.

thinking of you

Mia said...

Very sad a loss like this. I'm still sad from last nights episode of The Slap which was all about lives moving through their course so quickly only to be looked back on and wonder where the time went?......much pathos...

Francesca said...

this is a beautiful post kylie. i'm so sorry about your friend. but you've given her and your friendship a perfect send off. lots of love x

Evie said...

such a beautiful post. the lasting memories of this wonderful friendship are so precious. sad yes. but how fortunate you were to have someone like this in your life. four in fact. so special. my nans is this person to me but we are only discovering a closeness now later in life x

Jacqui Dodds said...

My next door neighbour died on Christmas Eve a few years ago, she was in her nineties. I visited her in hospital the day before and although she wasn't concious I am glad I went. She died alone the next day - Christmas Eve.
Flora was there when we moved in fifteen years before and was always happy to chat. She didn't/couldn't have any children and always thought the world of mine. I miss her a lot and wish that I could have done more for her.

Unknown said...

i am so sorry to hear kylie. what a wonderful friend- you will carry those memories with you forever... lots of love mady xxx