She didn't leave in an unexpected way. Unfortunately both of us knew her time was limited, but this awareness didn't make her departure less painful for me. We are made of rational and emotional sides and what our rational side accepts as a matter of fact we cannot change, still remains an unfair bad trick of fate for our emotiveness, which is unable to resign.
I have never been able to get on very well with other women, so my friendship with her was even more precious for this peculiarity.
If we had to speak of my relationship with her in few words I'd say we were sincere and we felt free to be ourselves with each other. We created a privileged way of communicating based on mutual trust, mutual tolerance and a lot of humour and self-irony.
Immediately after her death many people thought to make a tribute to her posting on the web various pictures and messages, even though the majority of them knew very little of her as a person.
I didn't do anything publicly.
I knew she would not have liked that at all. We had spoken about that. We spoke of all, simply, without restraint. But I know also that she would have appreciated people's intentions even though she would have preferred it might be shown in a different way. She has always been more generous and tolerant than me about others and we have so often joked about our features on this point. I played the contrarian, the iconoclast, while in reality she was the strong rebel, who could dominate her temper for others' sake.
I miss her in a way words cannot express. I miss her more than I expected to miss her.
I have never thought it's right to idealise people only because they are dead. I think that death doesn't make anyone either better or worse than they were in life.
My friend spoke too much and I teased her terribly for that, then we both laughed together. We never laughed at each other, we laughed together about ourselves.
She was maybe a little too optimistic about life in general, but this feature was perfect to temper my excessive scepticism.
We liked repeating that we were perfectly complementary and joked by saying that if we had merged in only one person the result would have been remarkable. Then I added "Well, but what could happen if this person would take only our flaws instead of qualities?" and she laughed with her shining eyes and said "Then we'd become only one woman, short, catholic, sardonic, grumpy, asocial and definitely too talkative!".
I cherish all the memories I have of her and they are so many that make me feel rich. We have created things together, made projects, shared worries.
Even though we lived in two different countries we communicated every day, even several times a day and we were closer than if we had lived next door.
The last time I saw her in person was on the 14th May 2013, on my doorstep, while she was leaving after a stay at our home. My husband was driving her to the railways station. She had told me, since we never stood on ceremonies that it was not necessary I went there too. While she was getting into the lift she turned her head toward me and waved, smiling.
Five months after that day she died.
Obviously I have already experienced several dear ones' and good acquaintances' death, but her death has struck me in a very particular way. It has made me think over about the frailty and the meaning of our ephemeral life so much and every time I have gotten deeply involved in these speculations I have felt the sudden need to share my thoughts with her, because we liked so much mixing up our reasoning and to find a thread which might lead us somewhere. At that point, as when one wakes up from a dream, I realize once again that she's not there anymore and I won't have any further chance to speak to her.
She loved her children, her husband, her cultural roots, books, photography, white wine, gastronomy, cinema and she loved also me. I feel grateful to destiny for the chance I had to meet her.
Every year on her birthday I invented little funny procedures to offer her the small presents I had chosen for her and her kind husband was my accomplice in this affectionate game, preventing her from barely touching the parcel I had sent before the fatidic date and presenting her the small gifts in the right order. Then she immediately took photos of each of them and sent them to me. It was a personal and deeply rewarding ritual.
This year is different. She's not there anymore.
But I keep her alive in my mind, day after day and on her birthday I can only feel grateful because she was born.
Lá breithe sona, mo chara álainn!