On the 7th July heaven found a beautiful angel, pure and angelic, a soul whose heart was too pure for this world. She was framed by golden blonde locks cascading down her shoulders, sparkling blue eyes that lit up with joy everytime she smiled. Her rosebud lips, her pearly white teeth, her smooth fair skin, all features blessed by the angels themselves. But she wasn’t just beautiful, she was kindness personified, an angel who would always put others first before herself, who would give to charity and donate to food banks, even when she was struggling with health issues all these years.
Though her time on earth was cut short, and her vitality taken too soon, she will always be remembered, for her grace, beauty and pure heart. For this was no ordinairy angel, this was my childhood friend, a woman who I had known since I was 5 years old, who I shared cuddles, gossip and bountiful laughter with in 20 years of friendship. It is very rare that you come across someone who has such a pure, honest and warm, open heart, and even rarer to find someone who is truly selfless, who even in personal struggles still looks out for you, like a guardian angel perched on your shoulder. But I was one of the lucky ones because I found Grace, my kind, altruistic, warm and funny friend. I wish we had more time together, to laugh and grow old together, to explore the world around us through awakened eyes anew and feel the breath of a new day upon our lips. But alas, this beautiful angel was not to meant to be, and as morning broke the world drew to a halt, as Grace passed peacefully in her sleep.
They say time is a great healer and that much I know is true, the souls in heaven mounting as friends and family ride their heavenly chariots, the seasons changing, summer to autumn, months turn into years, years turn into decades. As time passes, your heart grows accustomed to the pain, but it does not get any easier, your mind filled with thoughts of all your loved ones lost. Tears stream down your face, salt mixed with sadness and you feel broken, unsure of what to with yourself and how to navigate time when your heart has shattered into a million pieces. Right now I feel devestated, overwhelmed by the turbulence of emotions that penetrate my consciousness, but I know that she is no longer suffering, no longer entangled in pain.
Instead she is vibrant and vivacious, watering her flowers in her ethereal garden and pain free at last, no longer battling health issues, surrounded by peace and tranquility. I can see her smiling now, she’s filled with excitement and glee, watching over her family and friends like the beautiful angel she was always meant to be. Though she only had 25 years on this earth, Grace was a fighter who battled through her illnesses, rarely letting discontentment escape her lips. Not once that I was with her did she complain, not once did she show self-pity or resentment towards the life she had been given. Instead my beautiful angel would focus on what would bring her joy; her garden bountiful with purple flowers blooming, her cat Luna mischievously streaking across her room and of course her desire to attend to those less fortunate than ourselves.
In her last few years on earth, Grace was commited to helping others; everytime that she would do food shopping she would donate to food banks so that children, adults and elderly alike could feel the warmth of nourishing food in their bellies, she would work with children at a nursery, until her health was failing and she could no longer work. Every action that my beautiful angel took was to benefit others, every word that she uttered was to bring joy to her loved ones, no matter what she did or said, her heart was always pure right through to the end. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to find a friend who is so selfless and there for you no matter what, but I found Grace and grace found me.
They say that you shouldn’t live life with no regrets but my pain is rooted in Grace’s passing, I wish that we could have seen each other more, I wish that I could have been there for her and held her hand when she was in pain. I feel guilt washing over me, clear as day, enveloping me in its poisonous mist, but what good would that do? It won’t bring her back, I cannot dwell on the negatives, only focus on the happy memories that we shared together. I need to rejoyce and celebrate the life events that we had, new jobs, boyfriends, moving house, new schools, new lives, and take comfort in the fact that she is no longer suffering. But damn is this world cruel, taking away her breath before she even had a chance to live.
That’s why it is so important to live your life in the moment, and tell your loved ones, no matter how much time has passed that you love them and will always be there for them. Cherish your memories like they are treasure chests, bathe in a pool of warming love, embrace the world with kisses from your heart and above all live each day like it is your last because you don’t know when your life story will end. Noone wants to die young, we all want to live forever, but our paths are already written and there is nothing we can do to change the clock from ticking, 1,2,3. Grace, though her time on earth was short, lived each day with purpose, chasing after her dreams, a smile coating her lips, sugary sweet. And that’s the way life should be; we should live our life with meaning, glossing over fears of the unknown and replacing it with ambition to live each day to the full.
Brush away the grudges that you hold close to your chest like cards and forgive those who have wronged you, let go of resentment, disocord and toxicity and feel the sunlight bathing your skin in an aura of positivity. Get up each morning and feel joy that you have lived through another day, acknowledge the sadness and allow yourself to feel authentic in the moment, before expressing your gratitudes and affirmations. Be thankful that your heart is beating, your veins coursing with blood, vitality in your system, because life is too short for what if’s, and ‘I wish’. Start living your life from now on, and no matter what happens, pick yourself up and do what makes you happy, because I know that Grace is in a better place and at peace, and that is the image that I need to hold onto.
I want to remember her without the health issues, without the feeding tubes and hospital visits, instead a version of herself as she once was, without pain, blanketed in tranquility, serenity and peace. I want to remember how she’d laugh in pretend outrage, at my outlandish stories that would delight and shock her in equal measure. I want to go back into a time where we would laugh and talk together into the early hours of the morning and dive into an ocean where she swims on like a mermaid, blonde hair fanned in teal blue waves. I want to travel into a world where she still exists in mind, body and spirit, feel the warmth of her friendship upon my shoulders, and wrap her in my welcoming arms, jubilant and proud.
I could sit here and recount all the regrets that I had, how guilty I feel that in her last days I wasn’t there for her, that I couldn’t smooth her pain away and envelop her in hugs, that I couldn’t tell her how much I loved and valued our friendship before she passed. But I know deep down that she knew, and saw the history and memories that we shared over the years, how our ties ran deep, how we were there for each other no matter what. She had so much love to give, a kind and caring soul and I will never forget her, because no matter how much time passes or how my life changes, there will always be a space in my heart for my friend Grace, the fairest of them all.
I was 5 years old when we met, a flaxen blonde blue eyed child and an olive skinned girl with inquisitive brown eyes, and we bonded immediately. There was me, Lucy, Grace, Hannah and Leanne who would share playground adventures together and stick together through thick and thin. We were children then and adults now, but nothing could wipe the memories that we shared as a collective group. I know that as adults we can often drift apart from our childhood friends, but I urge you to always check in, to see if they are ok, to send them a message of love, acceptance and an olive branch to re-connect because blood is thicker than water and these friends were my soul sisters.
Just like me, these girls are in shock at Grace’s passing and shared memories, stories and adventures unique to them. And while our individual journeys with Grace are all different, one thing is for certain is that Grace was loved by many, and we love her still. I loved everything about her; from her kind and welcoming heart to her positive sunny nature, Grace was a ray of sunshine who provided happiness and light to many people in her life. Though i’m sad to see her go too soon, I know that we will reunite again laughing once more, two friends where opposites attract, amigos who fit together like two peas in a pod. It’s weird to think of Grace as no longer being here because I feel her with me everywhere I go.
Her spirit radiates amongst the flowers in a nearby park, bees guzzling hungrily, slurping up nectar. Her laughter radiates in the trees and her sweet lilting voice rustles in the leaves. Her magnetism courses through the very ground I walk on and her energy comes alive with every step I take. But most of all I feel her here, in my heart, always with me, watching over us all like the beautiful angel that she was always meant to be. Gone too soon, but never forgotten, it sounds like a cliche, but the stories that we shared together and the friendship that we had will always be with me, she will always be my friend. We stayed in touch over the years and while there were in-between periods where we’d drift apart, we always came together, friendship renewed, soul sisters bound for life.
One memory sticks out as clear as day; she came to visit me, and we talked for hours, not doing anything much or anything special. Instead we walked the streets, discussing how excited she was to work part-time at a nursery, how she loved and cherished the children that she worked with. We swapped stories: at the time I was living near her, and we would meet up frequently, and laugh and joke. I would regale her with stories about my terrible dating disasters and she would laugh, shake her head and say ‘what are you like’, lapping up each colourful story as though she was inhaling a cup of hot steaming tea.
We would tell each other about our hopes and ambitions; she told me that she loved the village that she lived in, it was calm and peaceful and she wished that she could work more, than her health allowed her. But despite this, she was thankful for the life she had been given, stating simply that ‘ I live my life with purpose and joy, and i’ve grown used to the hospital visits and the checks up. I could always be a lot worse’. It was a sobering message, but at the time we didn’t think much of it, her dimples lighting up impishly, lighting up her serene features, a beautiful angel on earth.
I would listen as she told me about her hospital visits , and held her hand while she bravely told me her story. Part of a twin, one healthy, one not, she never had regrets about how she came to be. Instead she was a warrior, gleaming gold hair around her head like a halo, like the beautiful angel she was and would always be. When I think about how life treated my friend, at times I feel angry; she never did anything to anyone, the kindest and purest woman you would ever meet. How could death snatch her up so cruelly in its arms and take her from us so soon? How could time stand still and steal her breath away? I’ll never know why her time here on earth was not meant to last, but one thing is for certain, she lived her life with purpose and without regrets and I think that’s a lesson that we can all learn.
Grace’s legacy is written in stone, and from it we can live by her motto: to treat others with kindness, give to others selflessly and always, always, always tell your loved ones how much you love them, before it’s too late. I’ll miss the tinkle of her laughter, a pealing sound that radiated joy and positivity. I’ll miss the deep blue of her eyes, and the pinkness of her lips, her rosy cheeks and her model like features. I’ll miss how unaware she was of her effect on others, how her beauty stunned others into silence, how her warm heart nourished others, and her compassion sustained friends for a lifetime. I’ll miss the normalcy of hanging out together, nothing frilly, just a normal day, a normal week, where two friends would come together and spill gossip like it was going out of style. My beautiful angel wherever you may be, just know that you are always in my thoughts, my friend from childhood, taken from us far too soon.
A week ago I remember a conversation with my Aunty, who knew Grace and had welcomed her into her home. She asked me how Grace was, and whether i’d heard from her. I said that I hadn’t and that I would send her a message to see how she was doing. We spoke about how my Aunty had brought a gift for me to give to Grace, because she was my best friend at the time, and knew that it would be something that she would love. It was a teddy bear, a gift we as children would love and I was so excited to give it to her. Unfortunately- as those of you who read my blog would know- I was living in an abusive household where my stepmum would abuse me from the age of six until 10, and upon seeing the present promptly destroyed it.
I was crushed and my Aunt, all these years later told me how upset she was at the time too, stating (and I quote) I was so upset because I knew how much Grace meant to you, and as you wouldn’t be able to buy the present yourself, I brought it so you could give your friend a meaningful present. We spoke about other things but this conversation stuck in my mind and when I told her about Grace’s passing she said that she didn’t how she knew, but she often had the abilty to sense when someone is in pain, suffering or struggling because she had been in pain herself. Even though she had not asked about Grace in a while, she said the thought of Grace had played on her mind, it was uncanny.
She told me that Grace wouldn’t want me to make myself sick with grief, nor was she the kind of person who wanted her loved ones to be miserable over her passing. But in the moment it’s hard to feel anything other than sorrow, tinged with devestation, a hopeless patchwork of intense emotions melding together as your grief takes stock. It’s heartbreaking and shocking in equal measure; a friend in life and in death, a soul bond severed, and dispersed into the winds of time, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. But my aunty is right, my anguish and pain at her passing is detrimental to my own health, and while I love her dearly, I can’t let that love rob the light from my eyes.
So I have to pick myself up and stare head on into the arrows of time, move forward one step at a time and feel thankful that each day brings a new dawn, each night is cloaked in peaceful inky darkness and each afternoon offers quiet contemplation, a penny for your thoughts. When I walk in a park nearby, thoughts of Grace flit into my mind unannounced, when i’m writing I want to pay tribute to her life’s success and when i’m with others, I think about how much my own loved ones would have loved her. Because those who knew Grace personally, my friend Naz and Kiran, my Aunty and Foster Mum, would comment in unison ‘what a nice sweet girl she was’, and boy were they right. It wasn’t just that Grace had a kind and loving nature, that she helped the poor and gave herself to others, but it was the aura that radiated around her, that made you feel calm and relaxed in her wake.
I wish that she could have met my boyfriend, I know she would have been happy for me after years of dating wrong un’s and would have laughed at the bond that we both share, two quirky souls that were destined to become life partners. I wish I could have seen her one last time, that I could have had some advance warning that it was her time to go. But that’s the thing with death, you aren’t given a map to navigate your life, you don’t know how or when you will die. The only thing that you do know is that one day, no matter when, we will all be at peace resting, as new souls come and go in our place. It’s not the nicest thought true, given that I myself am scared of death, but in all of our passings I want us to not be in pain, to go peacefully and walk back into the night unharmed, reunited with our loved ones once more.
So instead of focusing on the tragedies and negatives that are associated with Grace’s passing, I now grieve more peacefully. Gone are the anguished cries, the overwhelming panic attacks and the nausea that engulfs you hungrily, instead there is smiling through tears, elation at our friendship and a new drive in life, where Grace is my guardian angel, smiling down upon me with that shy smile that I loved. The shaking and convulsions that trembled through my body so ferociously, the sadness that clouded my eyes and the tiredness in my joints is on its way out, the strength coursing through my body once more, laughter bubbling in my throat and limbs coated with energy, bounding round the room.
I dispell the thoughts of what could have been, no longer plagued by thoughts of ‘this isn’t fair’ and ‘why did death choose her’. I try not to think about how her life could have panned out, how she wasn’t afforded children, a partner, a life she could grow old into. Instead I think about what she did have in life: Grace was surrounded by friends and family who loved her, who would be there for her no matter what. For this beautiful angel was a joy to anyone who had the pleasure of meeting her and no matter what pain and struggles she was going through, she didn’t care. Noone could have imagined the pain that she was in because she never showed it, even when she told you about how unwell she had been.
She simply shrugged it off and accepted it as her lot in life, tending to her garden with glee, giggling with her cousins, brother and mum, and always having an open ear to talk about your struggles, even when she already had a lot on her plate. Looking back at photos of my beautiful angel Grace is hard and I struggle to understand how this could have happened to her, even now a week later. But I am slowly coming to terms with her death and accepting that this nightmare is in fact a reality. As the weeks turn into months and the months turn into years I know that the grief will get easier, but for now I pay tribute to this beautiful soul, always and forever my friend, my beautiful angel named Grace.
How Do You Deal With The Passing Of A Loved One?
P.S Out of respect for my friend’s family, I have chosen to not include photos of my beautiful angel and friend as I would want permission to post images of her. Instead I fill this post with beautiful purple flowers such as lavender, because she loved tending to her garden and her last photo featuring her, was Grace attending to her garden, with a purple flower blooming. And so that will be how I will remember my beautiful friend. I have linked to her Just Giving page here, which asks for donations to The Trussel Trust, a local food bank area, where she would buy food, including baking kits for children and feel joy knowing that someone would have a happy meal. She loved everyone and I want people to honour her memory by giving to this wonderful charity. To my beautiful angel, I love you now and always. Goodnight my sweet one.