I sat quietly for some time yesterday remembering a friend of mine. Why? Because it was one year yesterday since she died, succumbing to a horrible cancer that took over her body and against which she seemed unable to fight.
This lady was a fighter but this was one battle she couldn't win. Perhaps she went about it the wrong way, as she often did with problems in her life, but, no matter what, she was lost to those that loved her.
My husband and I were so pleased to be part of a family get together at the hospital where she was on New Year's Day in 2009. Her 4 children (and two of their partners) and two other friends and their partners were all there. A lovely light meal was provided and we spent several hours going over Judy's lifetime which at times was very lighthearted and we had many good laughs talking about escapades she had got up to during her life. She certainly was quite a character.
I first met Judy in 1944 when I was 12 and was commencing at a new school. We were in the same class and at that time I certainly didn't like her one little bit. She was a bit of a devil and she and another Judy could cause quite a lot of disruption in the classroom. I, being a rather quiet child, found this wrong and so we definitely did not become friends at that time. Judy left that school at the end of 1944 as it had been suggsted to her parents that she may do better at another school. Enough said.
I am not quite sure how we eventually became friends but it may have been through our parents who I believe belonged to the same political party. All I know is we did become very good pals and when I was 18 I was bridesmaid at her wedding to her first husband.
They had a few problems themselves but when she was in her early 20s they reconciled and she went to live in Katanning, a country town in the wheatbelt about 180 miles south of Perth where I was still living.
I dearly wanted her to be matron of honour at my own wedding but she was heavily pregnant at the time and in those days one would not have been part of a bridal party in that 'condition'. I doubt anyone would find it a problem now.
She and her family would quite frequently come to stay with us and we with them and we always had a great time and our children all got on well together.
Her marriage ended and she moved back to Perth with her youngsters and once again we saw quite a lot of each other. My own marriage ended several years later but my friendship with Judy continued on and on.
Eventually she went to live in the country once again only this time only about 70 km from where we lived and, although we didn't see each other so frequently there were quite often lengthy telephone calls between the two of us and we would meet for lunch at different places.
She did remarry, a man many years older than herself, and I think they were happy for the few years they were together.
Judy could be a quite difficult person and had some strange ways and ideas (don't we all at times?) but I think she was so special to me because we understood each other very well and we had so many laughs together, often at each other's expense but with no hard feelings about it.
We would go to each other's homes and laugh at how we both were the sort of people that were constantly sorting through things in an effort to unclutter our lives, something we never really seemed to be able to do. This was always a source of great amusement to us both. I would sometimes ring her and ask what she was up to and she would reply "Oh, just sorting out some stuff I want to get rid of".
I think she was worse even than me 'cos she would take things to the op shop and often come home with more 'stuff'. I was wiser and would get my husband to take a car boot full of bits and pieces to the op shop in the knowledge that he would not bring anything back with him.
Judy and I may not have always seen eye to eye but I have never been sorry that she was part of my life for so many years (65 of them to be exact) and I do miss her so very much. I do remember all the good times we had. Sleep on Judy...all the pain has gone and you are hopefully at peace.