Tonight I sit in Japan and think about my friend Sharron.
Today was her funeral in England. She died 2 weeks ago after suffering with cancer for 4 years.
I saw her 3 years ago? Maybe. It was hard to go and see her while my father and step-mother were sick, in hospital and then dead. She lived about 3 hours away from their home. I'd hoped I would see her this summer when I go to the UK.
But 2 weeks ago I got an email from her friend that she had died.
I couldn't go to her funeral. Grieving at a distance is so strange. Nobody in my life in Japan knew her, so I am sharing her with you.
At Xmas I sent her a perfume flower that I bought at Sapporo Factory. She loved it.
When the cancer charity nurses were preparing her body for the funeral they took the perfume flower from the bedside table and put it in her hands. So, she will take it with her.
Last week I went to Factory. I bought two more. I sent one to her friend Pat. And I kept the other.
Tonight I started the perfume flower, found a nice picture of Sharron and lit a candle.
Sharron was a noisy, funny lady. Very kind and always interested in new experiences. She would say the most outrageous funny things about men - we laughed and laughed.
We met when I was a reporter on a newspaper and she was the media spokesperson for an arts center. Her job was to try and get me to write about her arts center in the newspaper. But she was often TOO honest: "This is a very strange play, I don't think anyone will understand it. Please write something about it so we have a few customers!".
So I did. I loved her honesty.
Later we became friends and we shared a love of theater and cats and alcohol.
When I took Japanese students from Saitama to England for homestays Sharron helped me, meeting them at the airport, guiding them to the sights of the UK and giving them a BIG experience of real English - not polite teacher talk that they got in classrooms in Japan.
My students loved her. She was so open and honest and funny. And kind.
Ahhh. Sharron. Writing this makes me remember so many things about you dear.
I wish you were alive and we could meet again in July.
I miss you.