Friday, 5 April 2013

For tomorrow

As you might have guessed, it's been a rough few weeks here. For me, it's been a bewildering and exhausting time of grief, joy, meeting new people and, above all, learning more and more about who my incredible friend was.

Was? Excuse me, IS. Because I can't help but think I fibbed in my last post when I said Lisa is still here with us. The truth is, that's a massive understatement. The last few weeks since that devastating phone call have been Lisa Lynch central.

Don't believe me? Well you should see how my phone has been going batshit. You should see how the hit count has been going nuts on this blog. She's been in The Guardian. She's been on the Cosmopolitan site. She even made it to the front page of the Mail online. Talk about milking it Lisa.

And I could talk about how the past few weeks have been for ever. I could talk about what it's been like to be an ambassasador for someone who was clearly loved and admired more than she ever would have believed, let alone admitted.

I could talk about how I've jumped between numb shock, nausea and old-fashioned bewilderment from the news. I could talk about how I can hear that soft Derbyshire drawl in my head, like I could just pick up the phone right now and talk to her.

"Ehh up Jones…"

But I won't. Because since I 'took over' alrighttit.com, the full weight of what I just inherited keeps hitting me. At Lisa's funeral last week (a day that mixed moments of gut-wrenching grief with lots of meeting wonderful people and raising more than the odd glass to you-know-who), I kept getting asked time and time again "so, what's happening with the blog?"

So, first off, big and loud and unambiguously, let me say this:

THIS BLOG WILL CONTINUE. Got it?

How? Well firstly I should make one thing very clear – this isn't my blog (that's [cough] here). At best I'm a groundskeeper for someone who constantly pissed on my chips in joy of life and niftiness of prose.

I'm not qualified for this. I'm not Pete. I'm not family. I've not had to say goodbye to my daughter. I don't even have breast cancer. Who the hell do I think I am, ranting on here?

To tell the truth, sweary tweeting aside, I'd go months without seeing Lisa. She left the dreary Midlands for sparkly London over a decade ago while I remained tediously suburban. She was and always will be my friend, but deep down I know that I wasn't really around at the end and that's what I have to live with. Sorry Lisa.

Still, the last time I saw her, little knowing that it was to be the final time, we discussed the idea that Alright Tit has grown to be something bigger than any of us, even her. Losing Lisa is something that is still fresh, raw and devastating for us, but I honestly believe that this blog has become a community, a place for all of us who were along for the ride as she smacked down the bullshit and who have seen what it's like when that vile disease curls one off in the middle of a life you've built.

I know for a fact that she'd hate for this blog to become a Lisa Lynch mausoleum, a dusty old corner of the web where she's made into a modern day martyr. To be honest she'd find the idea ridiculous. And I also know that this isn't a blog about breast cancer. To quote the old bird herself;

"Alright Tit is no longer a blog about life with breast cancer. It's a blog about life beyond breast cancer. It's a blog about the stuff that The Bullshit put paid to. It's a blog about what happens when your Grand Life Plan is fired a curveball. It's a blog about love and laughs and family and friends… It's a blog about being a thirtysomething dork… It's a blog about the extraordinary life of an ordinary girl."

I'll add to that by the way. It's a blog about remembering old friends and discovering new ones. It's about honouring someone who put us all to shame with electric writing and a work ethic that hovered between humbling and insane. And it's all about us.

What the hell all this means in practice I'm not sure. What I do know is that there's more than a few of Lisa's closest friends who want to be part of it, that it's not going to all fall to me. And I'm open to ideas about what's next.

In fact, with that in mind, I've created an email address for everyone to send ideas and messages to Lisa and family, at lisalynchremembered@gmail.com. Please share – we want to hear from you.

Our awesome friend has left us, but we should be proud of what she left behind.

Toby 

6 comments:

Susan said...

Crikey! You summed that up so well, brilliant job! x

Sarah King said...

I had never heard of this blog until I saw a news article last week, and read it from start to the last posting. I lost my best friend to The Bullshit last year and helped where I could, but felt so inadequate. She too left behind a wonderful family and husband and had a true zest for life.

No words could sum up the loss you must all feel but what an amazing legacy to remember her by. My friend didn't want her friends to endure a funeral or memorial, and from a purely selfish viewpoint, didn't get to say goodbye.

I still wish I could phone her....

Love xx

lilianavonk said...

I've been sleeping with her book next to me since I got the news. (I'm sure she would be amused at how much cat hair it has accumulated at this point. Comparing crazy cat lady notes about our four-legged children is one of a thousand things I will miss about her.)

She was the first person I wanted to see when I got back to the UK. I imagined arriving at Heathrow and grabbing the first train or taxi I could find to take me to wherever she was, even if it was only to stand outside and wave at her if she was feeling poorly. The fact that we never got to meet in person--& I never got to give her the rib-breaking hugs she deserved, for giving me the gift of her amazing friendship--is giving me a lump in my throat right now. There's been a lot of that lately.

She once told me that my comments here were her favorites. That's one of the many memories I hold close to my heart, and it's the kind of thing I try to focus on now, rather than being angry that she was taken from us far horribly too horribly soon.

I've never gotten any tattoos, but for the first time, I'm seriously thinking about duplicating Lisa's star on my arm in her memory; I have a big scar there from an abscess, and while it's not quite the same as where the chemo needles went in, it would also commemorate what I survived...as well as a reminder to cherish the people I love, since they can be gone all too quickly.

One phrase sums up what I've been feeling in the past weeks: Lisa Lynch was, and will always be, the greatest person I never met.

Lou said...

I never met Lisa but have read this blog ever since I finished her amazing book and was so sad to see the news.
She was an incredible, inspirational person and such a gifted writer.
I am so glad someone is keeping her seat warm on here. As you say, her brilliant blog deserves to live on as she does in the memories of all her family, friends and anonymous but awestruck admirers.

Maty said...

This one post makes it very clear why QuarkMonkey was left in charge of the most amazing blog.

Bravo!!!!

Long live alrighttit ;)

. said...

That's wonderful news. I've just relapsed and need 9 months chemo, my first thought was to twitter, she really didn't know me but was great at black humour when needed- then i remembered and i could have wept