9 years ago tomorrow I lost my best friend. In real terms I lost her the year before when our friendship broke down. I have deep regret that we never patched things up before she died but that was a choice I made, and one I have to live with.
I first met X when our children were at Nursery school together.
Our friendship started as a walk to the school, the occasional coffee and developed into something a lot stronger and at the end a very damaging toxic relationship.
We spent a lot of time together and for the majority of the time, things were good.
Our partners got on and we looked forward to Friday nights out, Carnival nights, fireworks, Birthdays and Boxing day celebrations. We had fun, lots of it.
We shared stories of our pasts, both of us had skeletons and things we would rather forget. At first it made our relationship stronger but by the end it just gave her further ammunition to hurt me.
I wasn't allowed to have any other friends and she would certainly let me know about it if I dared to speak to anyone whilst we were out. She would blank me for weeks at a time and in hindsight I think her insecurities were ingrained from an early age.
I tried so hard to please her, to make her feel special but I ignored the warning signs.
I was scared of her. Scared of her threats but also scared of being alone.
I pulled out all the stops for her 40th Birthday. We went shopping, lunch out and I arranged a party inviting her family and found an old school friend who was a stripper as entertainment. It was a joy to see her so happy.
On that day X told me what I was allowed and not allowed to wear at her celebration.
Her health started to deteriorate and she was diagnosed with a heart problem.
I sat in the recovery room with her partner after her operation. Took her in her favourite food and stayed with her for hours at a time.
After her recovery she started to turn her life around, adjusting her diet and stopping smoking.
I was proud of her.
At was at this time that Kev and I were planning our wedding. Best friends should be sharing in the joy and the planning but this wasn't to be.
I can only guess that she was either jealous or upset that we were marrying abroad and couldn't be part of it, despite my attempts to involve her.
In the April of that year was when things went drastically wrong. It would be unfair of me to go through the details of the catalyst but what evolved was 12 months of abuse, lies, fear and the end of our friendship.
I was scared to go out. She would come to the Pub I worked on an evening and tell customers lies about me, threaten to beat me up and even came to my house where I just sat and took her abuse.
My Hen Night and Wedding party was tainted with the underlying fear of her turning up and making a show. Thankfully this didn't happen.
I was sceptical at first of my new evolving friendships as this toxic relationship was all I knew.
How could I trust others? What were their intentions?
I still struggle with this at times and have a great fear of what others may think of me. Certain songs trigger good and bad memories......
My friend continued to struggle with her health and after another heart operation sadly passed away on May 26th 2009.
She had tried to contact me prior to this and had left a message on my phone asking to meet somewhere neutral. Her partner explained that she wanted to see me as she remembered how I had supported her the previous time.
I chose to ignore her call. I regret this and wonder what would have changed if I had spoken to her.
I knew I did not want to rekindle the friendship as too much had been said. There are certain things that can't be unsaid.
I heard about her death on social media, It hit me hard. I was there for her family, helped with the arrangements as if nothing had changed.
I visited the chapel of rest to say goodbye. Went to her funeral, and drank fizzy wine with a friend to say goodbye to the end of a chapter and toast new beginnings.
I do not believe she was a bad person. She had been dealt a very tough hand growing up and didn't know how to cope with it. She didn't deserve judgement she deserved help and understanding.
I wish I had given her more of that.
R.I.P you mixed up wonderful Woman. xxx