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169: A Sky Full Of Stars

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One fairly recent Wednesday I was casually baking and got a phone call I had sorta been expecting but definitely never wanted to get. I - cowardly - let it go to voicemail. Then a text came through. I stopped rolling pastry and told myself to grow a pair and return the call...

It’s been a weird few weeks in my little LBP world. The kitchen has been proper busy. Alongside it, I’ve been on some rollercoaster of all the feels. That phone call had something to do with it, but also, this week, my ol’ Pop turns 80. 

And the day after that, it’s a year since I had a little run in on the A137. 

In the year since my accident, I haven’t had the balls to take a long main road car journey solo. It bugs me massively, and it’s somewhat ironic given that actually, my accident happened on a fairly busy A road that I turn onto almost daily. It’s an A road I know so well that most times I forget how I made it from there to home because I’m thinking about my bake list or what washing I gotta do etc etc. It’s so familiar. It’s so painstakingly familiar that somedays still, I go to turn out onto the A137, and my entire right side shivers and I turn the engine off. Most times I tell myself to again, grow a pair and get on. Most times I let the reminder wash over me and shake it off. But I’m struggling to do that this week. The wildflowers have overgrown again, just like last year (and what I still to this day put down as one of the main reasons for the crash happening at all). My Mum asked my husband to cut it back because the Highways Council Peeps are yet to respond to our request and it’s so close to the date of the anniversary, she’s visibly freaking out. And she wasn’t even here when it happened. 

I hadn’t really wanted to think or considered I could be harbouring some sort of post traumatic somesuch thing, but given the increased nightmares these last few weeks, and the fact I’m finding it hard to go to my parents place (which is where the crash happened), I think it’s fair to say something is up. I generally thought I had been coping alright really, had managed to overcome as it were, but I guess sometimes we all have a wobble.

And yet, knowing I had yet to overcome this long main road car journey shizzle, I have began berating myself, telling myself I really gotta do it soon. 

And so, back to that phone call. 

I had a pen-pal friend that became so important to me I didn’t realise how much I’d miss her when she was gone.

Past tense sucks arse doesn’t it? 

Cancer sucks arse doesn’t it? 

There are very few words that’ll do darling Emma justice, so rather than go and make a proper shitcake out of it, I’m gonna keep it brief: she was one of the nicest humans I ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Emma lived in Devon. It’s a really fucking long way away from where I live - and that busy troublesome A137 road. It’s 257 miles to be exact, 514miles round trip, taking the A12, M25, M3, and then multiple countryside A roads that twist, turn, go up and down hills and past Stonehenge. A long way. But of course, her funeral was to be held in her favourite place, Sidmouth. And of course, I wasn’t going to miss it. Before I had a chance to let anyone tell me differently, I’d sorted childcare for the small, and booked myself an AirBnB. 

I didn’t over think it, I just thought about Emma. I was going. Solo. 

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It was standing room only on that sunny Friday afternoon in Sidmouth. And I wasn’t the only person to have travelled solo. 

Grief is such a weird complex thing; no one ever feels like they are worthy or entitled to it almost, and yet, that’s what bought us altogether. The people I met that Friday were genuine, heartbroken, and beyond welcoming.

Almost a year to the day, I finally conquered a fear of taking a long main road journey alone. 

And yet, I did it at the expense of another fear: of having to say goodbye to someone I truly love. (I wrote that in the past tense and then edited it: I still love her very much.) 

My dear friend, thanks for kicking me up the arse and reminding me to conquer my fears but above all else, to love fiercely, because this all ends. 

I bloody love you. But remember, not as much as Ryan does. 

Be good and bake well,

Lady Bakewell-Park