I told someone I would stop scribbling this pointless drivel. But my head is positively spinning with the events of today. So call this catharsis. Or call it pointless drivel. Whatever.
At about 10.50 today I learned that one of my oldest friends had passed away. A former friend if we're being ultra analytical about it. I hadn't seen much of her in recent years due to her dopey but quite understandable choice of partner, but when you have known someone since you were three years of age it's always going to have an effect if you lose them, regardless of the current set of circumstances. There are a lot of memories which come flooding back. More on which later.
Ten minutes after learning this I had to go into a meeting at work. At which point I was laboriously moaned at for half an hour about things that are not remotely my fault. Basically I was hung out to dry and made to feel like a lazy loafer when in fact my workload is barely credible. So by 11.20 or so I am shocked, saddened, fuming and a little emotional. The second meeting of the day was a blessed relief. When the rage takes hold of me at work I can poison the atmosphere with the best of them. I was far better off discussing equality and diversity issues than sitting at my desk quietly steaming and resenting every moment of it.
So back to Jo, my friend who passed away yesterday. Like the countless people with disabilities who I have known and lost before her, she deserved better than this. She was just 40 years old. There is no sensible reason why someone with Spina Bifida should pass away at that age. Jo had some health issues recently and spent some time in hospital over the last 12 months, but it still came as a major shock to me to learn that she had gone.
Thirty-five years is a long time to know someone. You end up with a lot of history, not all of it that sensible. Every year we would be made to play Joseph and Mary in the school nativity play. We probably didn't mind at the time but it became a source of great embarrassment to both of us. Particularly for me in the last few years when I made the transition from being a simple non-believer to an out-and-out enemy of religion. Jo kept her faith all along. I think she found some comfort in it, especially after the passing of her mother from cancer a few years ago. Truth be told, I'm not entirely sure she ever recovered from that blow emotionally. She was very close to her mother and I think she relied on her for many things before her illness.
I have other silly Jo memories. When I was about six she dumped me for someone called Carl Lynch. Quite what an eight year old and a six year old were doing believing they had a relationship is one for the psychiatrists to work out, but I remember being very upset and angry about the whole affair. Angry and upset would come to be the things that I excelled at the most, culminating in my latest meltdown at work today I suppose. All of which pales into insignificance in the context of what has happened to Jo. It's all just so bloody unfair. Shit meetings and poisonous office atmospheres are probably options that she would snap your hand off for given the opportunity. In that respect I should think myself lucky, and I do. Relatively speaking.
Sadly Jo has not been so lucky and she will be sorely missed by many people. Myself included. It doesn't matter how long you have gone without seeing someone, the finality of knowing that you won't have the opportunity to see them again is difficult to come to terms with. Add in the fact that she was a similar age and had the same disability as I do and you could find yourself going down all kinds of fearful, paranoid roads. Why were she and all the others before her chosen to leave us while I carry on poisoning atmospheres and trotting out pointless drivel?
I don't know, is the short answer. And I'm not sure I want to think about it too much. I'd rather think about the positive memories of Jo. Before the dopey partner. Before the tragic passing of her mother. And before the onset of what turned out to be a catalogue of ailments which have taken her far too soon. Goodnight Jo. You didn't get a fair go. But you'll always be remembered fondly.