“legacy is planting seeds in a garden you never get to see”

– Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda

this is going to be my last post on this blog, although my last proper post was months ago. I’d like to leave this up indefinitely but I’m spooked somebody would identify me and I’d be in trouble, so in a month’s time I’m going to save all my posts and delete my account. I just didn’t want anyone to worry where I’d gone.

(where I’ve gone is a good place. or I guess it’s the same place but a different time, because it’s been almost a year now since Flo died. I think of it like with collagen remodelling at the site of a wound, where new material fills up the hole; and the tissue never regains its prior strength but it has other properties now, unique to scar tissue. I don’t feel that Flo-shaped hole in the matrix of my life because the content of my life has changed so much since her death; and I’ll never have her arms around me again and that knowledge still destroys me but the good I’ve got since her death have come from consciously acting more like her. I still think about her every day and I still cry over her a lot, and I consider that evidence of scarring, but it’s okay! scar formation is the mechanism of wound healing! I’m not scarred because I am wounded, I’m scarred because I’m healing.)

I didn’t really know what this project would be when I started it. now I’m finishing it I see it as a journal, the first and only one I’ve ever kept. this site has been a record of my experience of bereavement, a means of plotting my messy non-linear course through grief, a perceived channel of communication to the friend I lost, a way to remember her and share my memories to spread appreciation for this one-of-a-kind girl and the injustice of her fate, a kind of prayer, a kind of catharsis, and a kind of dumping ground for all the terrible emotional garbage that was making me weird to be around. and being around other people with similar experiences on here, reading their posts, made me feel like I wasn’t so weird and isolated after all. I can’t express how grateful I am for the messages of encouragement I received up in here. I can only hope something I wrote helped somebody else back in the same way.

thank you for having me. and Flo.


6 months / what I wanted to tell Flo today (9/6/15):

6 months ago, I assumed the rest of my life would be horrible, but I couldn’t imagine anything more specific than that. I literally couldn’t imagine a future without you. you used to say, “we lived through our senior school, we can make it through anything.” it wasn’t true. you died from one of the few completely curable cancers. there were times I honestly thought I’d die from grief, but I didn’t. and I’ve been doing this life that I couldn’t imagine for 6 months now.

I’m proud of myself, but it’s pride in you that got me here. the memories of your inspiring bravery, your kind generosity, your complete lack of self-pity, your goofy, excitable, compassionate, uninhibited, totally genuine nature. I stayed okay (if we’re calling baseline human function okay, and I think we ought to when we’re talking about somebody who’s lost somebody) because I love you so much, and I’m so proud of who you became in just 19 years and 2 months. it’s not fair that you didn’t get any longer than that. and I can’t fulfil what you would have done – I can’t act or direct, I can’t speak French, I can’t take care of your dog. I can’t fill the you-shaped hole in the world. but I can patch the hole in me, by trying to be more brave, more kind, more honest, more like you. by becoming who I would have become, in 19 years and 6 months plus, if you were still by my side, influencing me with your shiny loveliness. and effectively you still are. I don’t know why I was ever worried about living without you, Flo. I never will.

I love you, I miss you, I hope you’re somewhere good, and any higher power isn’t really homophobic or else you guys are gonna fight. here’s your song. ❤

what I wanted to tell Flo today (15/5/15):

I fucking love you, Flo. I’m listening to your chemo playlist while I study, for the first time since you died. I used to play it all the time when you were ill, because imagining we were both listening to it at the same time made me feel like we were together, in a way, like “we’re looking up at the same moon” kind of thing. anyway I was just about to get sentimental about your great taste in music when, with perfect timing, My Enormous Penis came on shuffle. fucking hell did that make me laugh. I mean it’s a very empowering song, I can see why it would be on your positivity playlist, despite you not having a penis of any size. it was just… very you to interrupt my self-pity moment with humour, you know?.love you, Flo.

(PS I’m not nearly as hysterical as I was the other day. see, I knew it would pass.)

what I wanted to tell Flo today (16/2/15):

  • R came down to see me and stayed over last night and it was lovely. we went to the hobbit pub and we all worked together to complete the ‘fellowship challenge’ and get her the free t-shirt. I was gonna send you the second one I got, but since it couldn’t I feel really happy it went to one of our friends. like I’m still taking care of the pack in your absence. and toasted one to you.
  • we were playing cards against humanity at the same time and for, “what kills my sex drive?” somebody put, “all my friends being dead” and me and R just had to laugh because it was… too real.
  • we also danced to Shake It Off and didn’t cry and we talked into the night. a little about missing you, a little about other stuff. R had a friend who died right before you did, so we’re both in the two timers club and we’re both exceedingly tired and engaging in bad habits and psychologically speaking not at our best. whack as it sounds, it was so nice to be with someone with dead friends who feels lonely and fucked up. she has other people at uni with her who knew you, and down here I’ve got no one so I’m the weird sad girl who nobody can really identify with. but with R, like with the others during the holidays, we’re all in the same boat and it’s a shitty, splintering, leaky fucking boat but I’ve got somebody to share the journey with. I really wish I’d gone to uni with a friend from home. but how could I have known how much I’d need them, one year ago.
  • there’s vintage lesbians on Call the Midwife now. I seem to remember you didn’t watch it but your mum did, but between Miranda and the lesbians I think you’d have to now.

what I wanted to tell Flo today (21/1/15):

  • med school is so hard. oh my god. I’ve only been back in lectures (post exams) 3 days and I’m behind. I think some of the tiredness and feeling like I missed key learning points is the ADHD. because we’ll have 3 or 4 straight hours of lectures from 9am and it’s too much for me to hold attention through. if I try I’m more tired but if I don’t try I miss more information so it’s kind of lose-lose. I’m gonna have a lot of catch up to do on the weekend.
  • I’m feeling pretty cut off from everybody right now. kinda lonely, like last term. the housing situation wasn’t working out and we had to split into 2 groups and I got a better deal with the grouping than a couple of my friends and they’re mad. the friendships were too fresh and tenuous for that sort of damage. the girls I am living with next year I don’t live with now and they’re not on my course so I barely see them. the girls I do live with are always out, and the boys mainly spend their days watching dumb YouTube videos. G can only text when she’s in wifi range so I’m even getting fewer messages from her and T these days. and none from you, obviously. it’s partly my fault, I know. I’m isolating because I’m trying to do better academically and because I don’t feel capable of doing long social engagements. I just have to make an effort to spend time with more people besides H. if she gets tired of me I’ll be totally alone.
  • I’m aware that that wins the prize for the most pathetic emo “nobody loves me” Holden Caulfield paragraph I’ve put on this blog. and it’s a blog addressed to my dead friend. that’s a high bar for emo. damn, Phoebe.
  • the last couple days, my favourite way to think of you has been to imagine us dancing together. to Avril or Taylor or Busted, just dancing like idiots and screaming along to the lyrics and falling around laughing. it’s exactly how I want to remember you and it’s so easy to do because you were always singing and dancing. badly. and I feel bittersweet happy-sad to see you that alive in my mind.
  • you had none of that life in you when you died. I’m almost grateful I didn’t see you when you were dying. I’d like to ask your parents or Y about it someday. but not yet.
  • I still haven’t read through our texts.

what I wanted to tell Flo today (28/12/14):

  • I feel like Ron Weasley is a really undervalued character.
  • I never got over my year 6 desire to have a lava lamp.
  • I don’t always wanna tell you deep stuff, I just miss having conversations about how our days went. I texted you more than anybody. I haven’t read back over our texts yet.
  • I’ve stopped crying when I hear Shake It Off though. that means it doesn’t remind me of your last months any more and your great bravery and I hate it. I don’t want to forget the things that make me think of you.