The blog is in essence a diary, it charts and shares my thoughts and my experiences as I travel the path that is mine. It is in this spirit of recording that I share this mornings telephone calls with you. I received a call that none of us like receiving and none of us like to forward, luckily I was sitting down. My good friend Elaine passed away peacefully, and totally unexpectedly, during the night. It’s a simple call but it changes your world like running into a wall, you know feeling when the whole world shrinks away and a wave of shock passes over you. The world is an odd place, only this morning I was discussing with Jo how you reevaluate friendships when you go through trauma or distress and then some greater power steps in and cancels a keeper.
I want to introduce you to our Laney, not because she is important to you (although she is to some of you) but because she is someone we all know. You see while there is only one Laney you will recognize her character and perhaps treasure a little more the time that you spend with yours. I have known Laney and her husband Dave for ten years, always in Walton and normally in the pub. Our Laney was a rough diamond in many ways, she reveled in a hint of rudeness when working behind the bar. But she had a heart of gold, never would she let someone go hungry or without a place to sleep. Laney was one of those that had very little but would never hesitate to share, grumble? probably but turn you away? never. Laney had the constitution of an Ox, she did her best over the years to maintain a blood alcohol level way above healthy and since the smoking ban she has spent more time outside than the rest of her life. She is one of those people who will always survive but never conquer, a fighter who just can’t pick the right fight.
I know that Andrew and Helen regularly tried to ration her wages, as those of us that lent her money rationed the supply. This wasn’t meanness but desperate attempt to avoid watching the cash pour into a fruit machine, convinced it was a sound investment until the last reel stopped spinning. Many is the time that Laney has started the run on the Lotto ticket machine with a sneaky pound only to bemoan the repeated £1 winners that she had to exchange for people. That’s the thing with some people, the fight is all there but it’s not directed towards success just survival. Whenever life has taken a turn downhill Laney has been there to empathise and to crack a giggle in the face of fate. Her stories have brightened many a solitary day, I honestly don’t think my Christmas this year would have been half as tolerable were it not for her recounting ‘my Dave’ stories. This blog stands testament to a mere sample of the humor shared, asking two lesbians, after a full X rated session ‘how is your boyfriend’ will forever raise a smile. I couldn’t stand upright for a solid hour when Doug introduced her to Bluetooth headsets, when she ripped it out of her head like she had been possessed I lost all control. I will never forget when she asked me if I knew that they had taken the seat away from outside the Marine, when I said no she said she was sharing because she had sat down on it and its absence left her rolling around on the floor. I suggested that it was pertinent to check if the seat was there before sitting on it and was met with Laney’s irrefutable logic ‘it has always been there’. Don’t misunderstand me, Laney could moan or gossip with the best of them but she never had any malice and was always the first to laugh at herself, or anyone else for that matter.
A lot of us have lost a genuine character and a true friend, we will miss you in more ways than perhaps you will ever have realised. I guess that is one mark of a truly genuine person, they don’t realise how many lives they have touched and how deep their loss will be felt. We love you Laney and I for one hope that they let you smoke indoors in the afterlife, that fresh air never did agree with you.
I do realise that I have used past and present tense in this post, this is not technically an error it is indicative of my struggle to accept that the past tense is the appropriate one now.