November 2007 – Sadly 6 weeks after reading my poem ‘The Calling’ at Helen’s wedding, she was tragically killed in a car accident. The contrast of such a high followed by such an incredible low left us all unable to cope, looking for answers where none existed. I wanted to make Helen proud and quickly decided that I would write again to try and give her the send off she so deserved. I wanted to write something that people could draw strength from and use the words that she might say if she had written this herself.
I have never seen a service so full; all pews were taken, friends lined the walls a few deep and even the corridor and beyond into the car park where they listened on speakers.
Helen, you really were the best of friends…
The last couple of weeks have been a terrible time for us all, living a nightmare that we have all struggled to come to terms with, but the one thing I can say is that Helen would be so very proud of the way that everyone has been there for each other and pulled together, united in their support. It just goes to show that we all carry a little bit of Helen inside ourselves; that deeply entrenched natural instinct to care for one another. So, if we are looking for positives to come out of something this painful, it is that new friendships will be formed and cemented for life…and Helen would just love that.
Nothing was more important to Helen than those close to her, so let’s keep close to each other and do what she would want. Helen is so alive in every single one of us and between us we have so many amazing memories to share, so let’s just keep sharing them and enjoying them. She would want us to be happy. Laughter always got her through all her hard times and laughter will get us through ours. So I guess what I’m trying to say here is…and these are Helen’s words, not mine, “Don’t forget to laugh and when you do laugh, don’t feel guilty because you are supposed to be mourning for me, laugh because I am still here with you all, laugh because I can hear you.”
Your laughter and happiness is what keeps her alive and close to us, because it is the closest we can get to feeling her warmth.
So carry on as Helen would want you to, be strong, dedicate things to her, continue to make her proud…speak to her, speak about her, keep her close and in your heart.
Let the memories of Helen put the spring back in our lead-heavy legs, let the warmth of her eyes and smile dry our tears and let her voice boom out, “Stop flipping crying you softies, you’re setting me off too!!!” Whenever I hit rock bottom and start crying, I can never stay there for long before I start laughing as I remember ‘the good times’…so take a moment please to laugh those tears away by remembering some of Helen’s silliest moments with you.
We carry her with us every day wherever we go, so to Helen from all of us here today…this isn’t goodbye, it’s just a different kind of hello!