‘We’re all just walking each other home.’
This quote popped up on my instagram feed and immediately I was reduced to tears.
I was transported back in time to two friends walking each other home and then back again because they didn’t want the conversation to end. I like to imagine we were talking about the lives that hung in front of us – a shimmering miasma of possibilities. But it’s likely we were just talking about boys. Planning our tactics as Lianne, our military commander and most successful fighter, would say with a wicked grin. We were 17. We didn’t know that one of us had already lived half her life and two dark passengers deep within her brain would soon be making their presence felt.
Meeting Lianne, being her friend and then losing her changed my life. I don’t want to imagine who I would have been without those conversations. And for six years, the conversations have been a little one-sided.
I still miss Lianne so much. When we gather together, Greg, Debs and Ros, as we will this weekend for my birthday, it still feels like somebody is missing. Maybe it always will and maybe that’s OK too.
Because that is what great friends do – they change you without you even knowing how or why. They become so entangled in your life, the roots so deep you can’t tell where they begin and you end. And sometimes they go home early and you’re left walking home alone.
It was so uncharacteristic. That Lianne, the person who never wanted to leave the party, left first.
Losing her has made me realise how lucky I am for all my friends: my best friends who have known me the longest. My sisters who I have both fought with and loved so ferociously. My counselling friends who have seen me at my most vulnerable. And my mum friends who sat with me through teething and tantrums. All of them would leave a gap, an unfillable space, if they left me to walk on alone.
It’s hit me hard this year. Part of Lianne’s legacy is that it’s really hard to cry to Backstreet Boy’s ‘Everybody’ especially when your toddler is dancing along and pointing at himself during the ‘Am I sexual?’ Somewhere I know Lianne is cackling
The thing that makes me saddest is that I will never know what Lianne would have made of the rest of her life. She had thirty years which seems so utterly brief especially as at least six years of that were blighted by brain tumours.
I know her life would have surprised me. I know it would have made me laugh. I know it would have been glorious.
It already was.