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Catrin Pickles: 26 May 1991-19 February 2012

Me, Dad (d. 4 Dec 2012), and Catrin (d. 19 Feb 2012)

I started writing this post almost 3 years ago, and for reasons now unknown to me, I never finished writing it.

On 20 February (2012) I received a text from one of my best friends telling me that Catrin had been killed in a car crash. I had to read it several times before I really took in what it said, and was able to reply. Later that night I was on her facebook page reading all the messages from her friends who were also in a state of shock.

(Yesterday) I went to her funeral, along with what appeared to be a few hundred other people. Every seat in the church was taken, people were standing at the back, and there were still quite a lot of us outside, listening to the service through additional speakers.

I didn’t know Catrin particularly well: in fact I’d only really started gatting to know her about 6 months before she died. But I really liked her and wish I’d known her better. She was really optimistic and happy without being in-your-face peppy. She volunteered in Mexico with an organisation called Therapies Unite, and they have posthumously named the first swimming club after her (Catrin’s Penguins). She loved to dance, and I was in awe of her natural talent. She was determined and brave, and just made everything she did seem like no big deal.

She was a good egg, and the world is poorer without her.

Dad knew Catrin before I did: he trained her in Pony Club for a few years and was always interested in what she was up to (like he was with all of them). I’m pretty sure seeing him cry in her funeral is the only time I’ve ever known him to cry.

She is Gone

You can shed tears that she is gone

or you can smile because she has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that she’ll come back

or you can open your eyes and see all that she’s left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her

or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday

or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember her and only that she’s gone

or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind,

be empty and turn your back

or you can do what she’d want:

smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

Grief Other

Birthdays of the Departed

Emma Griffin’s birthday has appeared on my Facebook news feed today. 25 years old today. Except she died last week. Took her own life.

We weren’t close: I’d only met her a couple of times. More a friend of a friend than anything else. We were chalk and cheese really, but the one thing we had in common was that we were opinionated.

I don’t really know what to say about her except that I couldn’t imagine anyone less likely to take their own life. Maybe that just shows how little I knew her. Or maybe it shows how well she covered up her feelings. She was always so bubbly and fun and outgoing and outspoken.

Despite the fact that we were very different and I had no intention of letting her change my mind, I was envious of how outgoing and outspoken she was. I have opinions about a lot of things, but I’m shy and generally only let my close family and friends see the real me. I tend to avoid rocking the boat with people I don’t know well. Keep a lid on things.

Emma wasn’t like that.

The first time we met she mistook my shyness for snobbery. I thought the fact that we had nothing in common meant we would have nothing to talk about. The second time we met she told me her first impressions and I was much less reserved. And we both changed our opinions.

About 5 days had passed before our mutual friend texted me to say what had happened. I immediately went on her Facebook page and read through hundreds of messages. Everyone who knew her – close friends and others like me – in an equal state of shock, wondering why and how they couldn’t have known her state of mind.

Emma G (sounds like energy!!).