Only last week we talked about her – I joked that Jude had to become friends with her daughter again just so I could reconnect with her Mum! I thought that we were more than just Mum-friends – we went ice-skating and held gloved hands round the rink. I remember her hugs so vividly. They were not polite, brief, pat-on-the back sort-of hugs; they were long, lingering, squashed and intimate. I miss those hugs…..
We haven’t spoken in a few years. She stopped coming in – her husband would pick up their daughter instead and plans became vague. Perhaps I said something wrong. (I always worry I say something wrong.) I was too shy to ask. She was the sort-of person I was always shy to be around. I felt I wasn’t good enough to be her friend.
There aren’t many people I’ve met who inspire me to write a poem about them, but she is one of them. I remember writing it during a quiet moment at Glastonbury Festival. I’ve no idea which notebook it’s in now, and I’ve cried too much already to want to find it. Jude discovered last night that she died a couple of months ago from cancer. I had no idea.
It’s a strange sort-of grief when she wasn’t in my life any more anyway. I always hoped she would be again some time soon. Memories come flooding back of the times we sat on her sofa chatting or looking at books for so long it was barely worth me leaving, as by the time I’d got home, it would be time to return and collect Jude again. Then we’d talk some more, and we’d always be late back. We shared a passion for art and creative living. She was so graceful, gentle and strong and I aspired to be more like her.
I’ve scrolled through five years’ of photos and am devastated to find I don’t have any of her. I was probably too shy to ask. Thank goodness for facebook. I’ve always clung to photos after death; I find I need them. I also find I need to write about them – hence this 2:30am teary and snotty blog post. My heart goes out to her family – I cannot imagine what it must be like for them to lose such a kind and beautiful soul. I’m going to make it my mission to try not to feel shy and awkward, and just give out as many Katinka-style hugs as I possibly can.
(Photos of Katinka Harrod – credits: Charlotte Pm and Julia Bambulia)