I went for a walk today, with my friend Julie.
Get yourself a Julie.
This is the kind of friend Julie is:
When we first moved to Devon 15 years ago, I was training for the Moonwalk. The Moonwalk, ironically enough, is a marathon length walk through London, overnight, wearing a decorated bra. It’s to raise money for breast cancer charities. Julie volunteered to train with me, and we walked miles together along the Tarka Trail, talking about everything there is to talk about. That’s really how we got to know each other.
When I had my first chemo, 13 years ago, Julie was there to pick up the kids if necessary. She was there to look after me when I started throwing up uncontrollably (learnt how to manage it after that first time – go straight home, eat something, go to bed and rest).
When I needed my second lot of surgery the kids were 8 and 6. We were trying to work out the best way of getting me to hospital and hour and a half away for 8am, and to get them to school. Julie thought we were mad. She just drove me – and then drove me home in bits because my surgery was cancelled at the last minute because they had found lung mets on my scan.
We walked today, and Julie was the first person I was able to cry with. I think there are so many people who want this to be alright that it’s really hard for me to say it’s not alright. I’ve spent many years managing other people’s emotions and maybe I find it hard to let my own go. Anyway, I had a cry and it was good, and I’m grateful to Julie for being the kind of person who lets you cry, and doesn’t try and make it go away.
We walked the Tarka Trail, like a pair of old crocks, because Julie really needs knee replacements, but she’s one of the people who have been knocked down the list of priorities by covid. We bought a ridiculously over-priced coffee and looked at the river. We saw some oyster catchers and found a poem on the Poetry Pin website. We talked about everything there is to talk about. And it was really lovely, and we’re going to do it again, soon.
So, get yourself a Julie. Because everybody needs somebody they can walk with, talk with and cry with.