One of my best friends is Jem. I've known her for fifteen years now. She was Lloyds pre school teacher. We became firm friends and now we are like family.
Jems mum died on friday night. She was only young – 67. Complications of diabetes.
When I first met Lorrie she was fit and healthy, full of life, always on the go. Then she was diagnosed with diabetes and over the years we saw a gradual decline in her health. In the last twelve months it was rapid and alarming. It seemed to be an endless round of hospital trips, dialysis, complications. She lost her strength, lost her sight, lost her life.
And in the end she said – you know, this isn't for me. This isn't the life I want. Time for me to check out. So about two weeks ago she made the decision to end all medication and dialysis, knowing that her body would shut down and she would die. And of course she didn't make this decision lightly. She had a husband, daughters and grandchildren she adored. She had a one year old grand daughter she was crazy about. You don't leave them unless things are desparate. And I'd like to say that diabetes is a wicked disease.
And I just have to say that Jem has really stepped up to the plate. She has taken control and dealt with everything that has been thrown at her. She has dealt with some messed up situations in the past two weeks.
She has listened to her mother tell her she wants to die and that they are to respect that decision.
She has organised her mothers funeral and bought a coffin for her while she was still breathing in a hospital bed.
She has kissed her goodbye and watched her take her last breath.
Today she will bury her mother.
Tomorrow she will go to the first birthday party of her niece.
Two days later on christmas day she will host lunch for her family, her husbands family and my family.
And the thing is, if you had of asked her if she could cope with all this six months ago she would have said no. But she is a mighty mouse and I knew she had it in her. And like she said yesterday – after all this, I won't be taking shit from anyone.
I'm very proud of her.
R.I.P. Lorrie. You were a good old stick. I'll catch you on the flipside.