"I will continue to raise my sons with you in their hearts. I will honour your memory throughout my life. I will complete the things you left unfinished. I will always love you to the moon and back."
I haven't opened that note-book since the day I read out the above words at my best friends funeral. Today I did. Rebecca Ann Lake, we met at 6 weeks old and were completely inseparable. Chalk and cheese is how we worked, I was the reckless one and Becky reined me in on many occasions, I lead Becky down paths she would have rather not walked only for her to be thankful for the confidence push. She dragged me off all the wrong paths. We went through a lot together. We grew together never apart. When our lives went in different directions we made it work. I had all the babies and Becky was travelling and living in Italy. When she finally decided to settle back home in Essex with her husband, I was selfishly so happy. Becky was incredibly cool and hilariously funny. Her beauty run deep, a perfect soul. She had my heart forever. But forever wasn't meant to be.
Becky had a nickname "Trooper" she was very hardcore, growing up she would climb a lamp-post in record time, encourage me to jump fences into festivals and generally kick my arse on many occasions. Illness didn't knock her down she just kept going. Going to work long days struggling to walk because she had pulled a muscle... but Becky hadn't pulled a muscle she was actually walking around with a broken hip and terminal cancer. As I sit by her bedside she says " I have cancer, but don't worry I be fine" That's Becky in a nutshell, caring more about others, worrying how I would take this news. I didn't take it well, I got home and broke down into tears, screaming and smashing things. The next 6 months that followed taught me everything I will ever need to learn about love, friendship and life. Picking up Becky's croissant after I dropped my sons off at school and nursery became the highlight of my day, watching Becky eat it was a close second. Then there's the medicine, the alarm that seemed to go off every second for her to take yet another pill. Chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hip replacement. Every morning I did the same thing until I had to leave at lunch time to get my sons. Washing and drying Becky's hair has become one of my most dearest memories, watching her flick her knickers and land them in the washing basket all with her foot was also pretty epic. Becky put up a bloody good fight, her strength had me questioning my own. The day came when I got sat down to be told Becky had two weeks to live, we cried and hugged, I asked Becky if she was scared, I asked if she knows what will happen, I asked if there's anything I can do, She replied, LIVE. In the early hours that night I got the call, I drove to the hospice so fast and manic, screaming and crying the whole journey. I was too late, Becky had died peacefully with her husband by her side.
I learnt that rock bottom had a basement and I was living in it.
How does one recover from something they thought they'd never lose? A tough lesson only those who have lost can truly understand. Grief took me to some dark places, I didn't care about anything, I didn't sleep, sleep was too painful, dreams tricked me into thinking Becky was still here only to wake up to see the truth. I drank more beer than I thought humanly possible, I attempted on many nights to sleep drunkenly outside. I was an asshole to pretty much any human I came in contact with. Reason being why are you still alive and Becky wasn't? (I did warn you I was being an asshole). Then sleep hit me and that's all I did, all day and all night I slept. My Dad told me the more I sleep the more sleep id need, that if i carried on like this i'd get deeper and deeper into my depression. He was right (for once), I fought off sleep during the day and ignored my body craving it. I stopped ordering beer online. Yes this was hugely convenient. Instead I ordered a load of James Duigan products that sorted me right out, anything that tastes that shit has to be good for you. It was and I very much needed it as by this point i'd lost a lot of weight.