Emma: a friend to the heart and to the mind.
I only really got to know Emma properly over the last couple of years, but being the sort of person she was, I felt very close to her quickly. I remember spending some time with her at her house after her hip operation a couple of years ago. I sat in her living room and we talked about everything and anything. Selfishly, I remember leaving feeling really disappointed that this funny, intelligent, warm and interesting woman was going to move away from Manchester, to London for her new job.
As well as knowing Emma through my singing group, we also had some mutual friends and this meant that, despite her short-lived move to London, we did get to hang out more. The more I knew Emma, the more I liked her and the closer I felt to her. I have some lovely memories of us in our group of friends laughing, talking, eating and just hanging out together. There are happy memories of just the two of us together going to the cinema, crying our way through Les Miserables and laughing through Pitch Perfect. With Emma, I felt that I could talk about the stuff close to my heart, including my experience of depression, which I felt that she could understand. We also shared an understanding of what it is like to live with chronic pain and illness – and again, I always felt that she got it without me having to do too much explaining.
But she wasn’t just a friend to my heart. She was a friend to my mind too. We talked about so many other things: philosophy, psychology, politics, her work and my work as a freelance writer and trainer. She was always so supportive and I really valued her input and her opinions on matters of the heart and mind. The fact that she seemed to value my opinions too made me feel really special
There is no memory of Emma that trumps all others, but our Saturday afternoon at the Vintage Fair will probably remain as one of the more special ones. We were both on pretty good form that day and really enjoyed browsing the stalls and chatting. We were both attracted to the, oh so unethical, furs, spending ages and ages just stroking them! We tried on a few items and I ended up coming away with a blue vintage dress which we’d both liked. Emma was super complimentary of how it looked on me, and practically forced me to buy it. With her compliments and assurances about how good it looked, I didn’t need all that much persuading in the end. It didn’t seem such a special day at the time: just two girl-friends hanging out, having a good time, shopping and chatting. But that’s the very thing that makes it so special to me now.
There are many, many things I’ll miss about Emma. I’ll miss her smile and her laugh. I’ll miss her intellect, frankness, and strong opinions. I’ll miss her politics, her ideas, and her beautiful voice. I’ll miss her kindness and her hugs (she gave good hugs). I’ll miss her ever changing hair! But most of all, I’ll miss her friendship.
I am shocked to find that I only took one photo of Emma for the whole time that I knew her. But at the same time, I find this reassuring too. We were too busy in the moment, talking, laughing, drinking, eating, crying, and experiencing life to think about capturing ourselves on camera. With no decent photo to carry with me now that she’s gone, I’ll carry Emma around in my heart and in my head instead.