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1st Anniversary

It's been a year since Peronne died. I miss her still, so very very much.

We first met at a dinner party one night in 1990, but we didn't become friends until some time later when we were asked to organise our debating club's first lustrum celebrations. We worked on it for a year, and pulled out all the stops: there was a day programme of lunch and lectures by highly regarded, internationally renowned scholars in the fields of art, archaeology, history and theology, followed by the presentation and publication of a liber amicorum; and an evening programme of dinner and dancing...and all on a very tight budget (as we were all just students and/or recent graduates). Peronne's family connections secured us the Snouck Hurgronjehuis, an 18th-century town house in the historic heart of Leiden, as the venue for the first part of the day at virtually no cost, and I found us a great big attic to turn into a discotheque overnight and for one night only a few houses further down the street, also at little or no cost. Needless to say, the whole thing was a great success, but the absolute best thing I got out of it was Peronne's friendship.

I was a recent graduate, she was still a student, reading theology. When she graduated, I was there. When she held her very first sermon as a brand spanking new vicar, in Groningen, I was there. When she went to Oxford, to continue her studies there, I went to see her there often. She got called to Delft, a small town not far from The Hague; then to New York, Amsterdam, Aerdenhout and lastly, Lunteren, another small town in the middle of our country. I visited and helped her with her work in all these places, and in some others besides. Peronne was a tireless traveller, and many's the time we jumped in the car and drove it into Belgium, Germany, Austria; or hopped on a plane to the UK, to go shopping, or take in an exhibition or a show, roam around the countryside, have fabulous dinners, and chill. We talked and philosophised about everything on these trips, as well as at home.

While she lived, Peronne was alive, more than any person I've ever known. She had such a joy about her, and even when she was sad, she was still vibrant. She's left me with many wonderful memories, and I am glad to have them, although they only make me miss her more.

A week before she died, she asked me to come with her to Estonia. I said I couldn't take the time off work. If I had been there, would I have recognised how sick she was, could I have talked her out of driving home, could I have got her into hospital? Even though I know these are useless questions to which I'll never know the answer, they keep coming back to me again and again.

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Comments

( 12 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
desdemonaspace
Mar. 6th, 2008 02:01 am (UTC)
I am so sorry, dear H. Thank you for sharing your memories of her.

**hugs**
gamiila
Mar. 6th, 2008 07:15 am (UTC)
If the last year has taught me anything, it's that when you lose a close friend like that, you lose part of your history, part of who you were. No matter what other friendships may be forged in the rest of your life, these people will never know you like the one you have lost knew you, won't see you you as she saw you, won't have the same history or memories to draw on. When someone close to you dies, the part of your soul and identity that was tied to their existence dies, too.
curiouswombat
Mar. 6th, 2008 01:35 pm (UTC)
It doesn't seem like a year ago. Remembering must be very bitter-sweet - such a lovely person to have shared so much with, but so sad to not have her here any more.

::sympathetic hug::
gamiila
Mar. 6th, 2008 05:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you. A year goes by so quickly these days -- I remember when I was a kid and the time between birthdays seemed to drag on forever. Now I look back and I wonder where the time has gone!

A year is nothing. I will probably go on missing her for a long time to come.
suze2000
Mar. 6th, 2008 06:07 pm (UTC)
Wow, I can't believe it's been a year since this terrible loss for you. I just want to comment on how impressed I am that you've got on and done things since then, not allowing your grief to stop your life. Some people do, and it's a double tragedy.

*hugs* You've also written a lovely piece about her here.
gamiila
Mar. 6th, 2008 08:16 pm (UTC)
It's knowing that Peronne wouldn't have wanted me to get mired down in grief that I've been able to carry on. I can still hear her in my head, encouraging me to get up, get out, it's a beautiful day and to enjoy it, for her if not for me...and it helps.

I owe her so much. She made me a better person, and if by going out into the world I can help spread a little of her spirit around, I won't hesitate.
enigmaticblues
Mar. 6th, 2008 09:56 pm (UTC)
*hugs*
gamiila
Mar. 9th, 2008 01:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 9th, 2008 08:33 am (UTC)
ok so it's more romantic love not friend love but still ..

"Lost love is still love.. It just takes a different form, that's all. You can't hold their hand... You can't tousle their hair... But when those senses weaken another one comes to life... Memory... Memory becomes your partner. You hold it... you dance with it... Life has to end,... Love doesn't"
gamiila
Mar. 9th, 2008 01:53 pm (UTC)
That's a good quote. Who said that?

I was reading a book the other day. There was this line that struck a chord with me, too: "Love is not only about who you know, but who knows you - whose knowledge of you is part of them"...it's exactly that aspect of love that with Peronne's passing has disappeared from my life, the absence of which I feel very keenly.
anonypooh
Mar. 9th, 2008 08:08 pm (UTC)
it's a novel called 'The Five People You Meet In Heaven'....highly recommended if you have not come across it before.
pooh not mous!
gamiila
Mar. 9th, 2008 09:19 pm (UTC)
I'll look out for it!
( 12 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )

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