I always knew she was coming over to visit because of the dogs she had, these tiny little scruffy things, I’m not sure what breed they were, but she had two and you’d hear their tiny nails scratching as they ran excitedly toward our house in the hope of finding our cat and terrorising it.
The doorbell would sound and June would be standing there with a big smile on her face, a cigarette in her hand and a glass of whisky in the other. She’d be smiling and she’d be in a good mood, always in a good mood, and we’d shoot the breeze and catch up on what I’d been up to while my mom busied herself in the kitchen, making supper and throwing in a random comment into the conversation here and there.
Sometimes she’d stay for supper and have one or two more drinks, she knew how to have a good time and was full of fun and mischief, and more than once, when my mom was trying to give up smoking, June would come over and the two of them would sneak a ciggie like two naughty schoolgirls.
I wrote a post about June last year, halfway through October, and sure, I understand you’re busy and probably just quickly stopped by because it’s become part of your daily routine while your email downloads or while the coffee percolates, but if you have a moment, please read this because it’s the last memory I have of her.
My mom called me in tears yesterday to tell me that June passed away on Tuesday night.
She might have been no one to you, even to me she was never anything more than a good friend of my mom’s and a woman who lived in the same complex, but she was a mother, a sister, an aunt and a damn good friend to a lot of people and I firmly believe that we are all connected to one another in ways we will never know or understand and that if you take a moment to spare a thought for the people that loved June, it will make a difference in their lives.
It was cancer that took her in the end, she underwent extensive chemotherapy to try and beat it, but it didn’t make a scrap of difference and as far as I know she made a decision to end the treatment late last year, because all it was doing was making her feel worse and worse.
I think about that and it scares the hell out of me. I can’t imagine what it must be like to reach that point, to accept the fact that you are never going to get better and that in a matter of months or possibly weeks you are going to close your eyes and never open them again.
These bodies of ours are never truly ours, are they? We loan them from the stars, feed and nourish and hopefully look after them as best we can while we can, but sooner or later we have to give them back.
I wrote this post because I wanted it to be known that June was a good person, one of the few I’ve met in this life, that she lived a good life and that she made this world a better place by being here.
I never got to finish the bottle of Red Breast whiskey with her, but as far as last memories of people go, that evening we spent laughing and enjoying a dram together is definitely one of my favourite.
I’m not a religious person, but I do believe that there is no ultimate end, you don’t just die and that’s it – there is more, much, much more, and just because your path has disappeared, it does not mean that it’s ended.
Wherever June’s path has taken her, I hope it’s perfect there. I hope there’s all the whiskey and cigarettes anyone could ever ask for and that she’s laughing like she always used to and making the people there as happy as she made all of us 🙂