Sunday, 14 August 2011

A letter to two absent friends.

Dear Margaret and Felicity,

Firstly to say that I still miss you both.
It's sixteen years since I last saw you Margaret, just before you went into hospital for that second operation. How we laughed about the silky nightie and your clever sexy consultant. But he couldn't save you. Your body was too frail from your first surgery and the chemo, and you never came round from the operation. We had such plans, you and I. We were going to open a nursery together and give a wonderful start to learning for lots of little people. You'd be proud of me. I learned to drive and I'm a full time teacher too. I remember all you taught me about how to handle children and I do believe I am a better teacher for it.

Felicity, it's only about seventeen months since I last spoke to you. I knew how much you loved me, despite my failings. You did not want me to see you dying. You believed in me even when I made mistakes. I remember sitting at the hospital with you, when they were first trying to find out what was wrong in 2005. I brought you strawberries to tempt you to eat, and a holding cross that fitted neatly in your hand. You nearly died then, but your indomitable nature won through and you were just strong enough for your chemo, and then your surgery. I admired you so much, as you told me you only had more chemo when it started to hurt. You served the people you loved selflessly for years. I'm sure they all miss you still in your small town.

So ladies, you'll be wondering why I'm writing. You both became my friends at the same time, but first Margaret died, then years later Felicity. The point, my friends, is that the same bloody disease that took you, Ovarian cancer, has got me in its clutches. I'm lucky they got mine early, and surgery has been successful, and the chemo seems to have zapped those evil cancer cells.

So my dearest friends, here's the deal. I'm going to do all I can to make you proud of me. I'm going to show this disease who is boss, and that boss is me. I'm going to tell the world until they are sick of hearing what the symptoms of Ovarian cancer are, and how to spot them. I'm going to show the world how brave and strong you both helped me to be. I only hope I can be half the women you were.

Thank you both for being my friends. I love you both.


Ali x