‘My friends are my inspiration, and all of them are true friends that support me. On a daily basis, I know that I have my friends to rely on’ – Reem Acra
When I think about who inspires me, it’s easy to say my Dad, who at one time was the youngest most senior person in the British Army there had ever been, my mum, who raised two children without any family around because we lived abroad at the time, or my husband, who ran a 70 mile ultra marathon last year and came 70th out of about 500 people. Both are incredibly inspirational and two people in my life I admire immensely.
One person who I think is somewhat of an unsung hero of mine and deserves to be the subject of this blog post is by best friend Angela. Angela and I have been best friends since we were 16 ever since we were partnered up together to a presentation on Bombay in A-Level Geography and we both had the idea to hand out Bombay mix to the class to distract from how crap the presentation was. I knew then we’d be friends are a long time. We’ve been through a lot together; our first holiday without our parents, turning up on the wrong night to a Ronan Keating concert, throwing up in a plane over the Grand Canyon, passing (and failing) driving tests, job interviews, boyfriends, breakups, marriages and now, sadly, deaths.
Our first ever holiday together at Euro Disney in 2001
Sadly in December 2013 Ang lost her mum Lynne after a short battle with cancer and the Harrison’s world was turned upside down. Our families have always been like a second family to each other; our mum’s and dad’s bonding over the multiple times they had to pick us up from each others houses before either of us could drive. I’ll never forget the time Lynne held my hair back and rubbed my back while I threw up in their toilet after drinking too many Blue Aftershocks (much to my own mum’s horror!)
Needless to say the last 18 months has been a living nightmare for Ang. What’s such an inspiration for me, is how well she’s come to terms with everything that’s happened, and I know Lynne would be proud of how she’s been a tower of strength for her dad and brother. Lynne was a childminder and I see that every day in Angela; a deep instinct to care for people. Despite everything she must have been going through, she still organised an amazing hen do for my wedding, was my beautiful bridesmaid and continues to make me laugh and be there for me when I need her. I never had a sister, but one thing Ang and her family has taught me is you don’t have to be related to be family.
As my bridesmaid 12 years later
When Ang and I became friends 17 years ago, I never imagined having to attend her mum’s funeral until we were old ladies ourselves, much less attending her mum’s funeral and have her comfort me. I mentioned in a blog post a few days ago that you rarely get the chance to tell people exactly how much they mean to you so I hope when Ang reads this she knows how unbelievably proud of her I am and we continue laughing together til our tummy’s hurt and eating obscene amounts of cake for a long time to come.