Lisa was a friend of mine. We spent about six years going to air cadets together. And then, when I was at university she died.
Eventually I hope that some of the communications in this site are about people who influenced me. People I am proud to have known. People I remember.
Lisa and I lived in the same village. I think she was a year older than me. We didn’t socialise in the village. We met when we ended up at the same air cadet squadron. In those days the Sqn put on a minibus to collect kids from the “villages” so we could get to parade nights. Eventually, once we were older, we ended up giving each other lifts into town so we could attend cadets. We would chat a lot and discuss the latest episode of “Happy Days”. Lisa was also a campanologist. I have no idea if she was religious or not, but on Sunday’s that was her thing. Once for my birthday she bought me “Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols” on tape. Quality.
One day when I was at university I met my dad for lunch and he told me that Lisa had died. She was playing football and collapsed. They didn’t find out what happened. I was slightly shocked at first but I accepted it. I was sad. Of course I was. The pain I felt was at the thought of losing the person I had spent quite a bit of time with. But I knew it would get better.
Lisa’s funeral was in the village. There was quite a large contingent from cadets there and the church was packed. People were sitting in the aisles. After the service her coffin was lowered into the ground outside the church. I didn’t go and look. For some reason I had a “Home And Away” quote in my head: remember them as they were, not as they are. I have no idea where it really came from but I did watch Aussie soaps at that time. That evening our group went out in Sawbridgeworth and celebrated the life of Lisa in the traditional fashion.
I have occasionally been to speak to Lisa. Once I went after the tenth anniversary meal of the cadet squadron. Rich and I left our dates at my parents house and ran down to the graveyard to speak to Lisa. I was quite drunk. I haven’t been to the grave for a long time. Life has been busy and got in the way really. I intend to visit over the Xmas period while I’m in the village. Hence this the other day:
Just had an incredible urge to go and talk to Lisa. Let her know everything that has happened since I last spoke to her.
— Ian Parish (@iparish) December 16, 2014
I can’t encapsulate years of friendship in this communication. But I can at least write a little. I still think of her. All of my readers needn’t worry. I don’t go to speak to her or her “soul”. Once you are dead, that’s it. The end. Nothing more. It’s a nice idea that we live on but one that reduces our real life to a time of fear. Embrace life and accept the truth. I go to speak to Lisa (I do very little actual speaking), to remember and keep her alive in my heart.
Lisa sent me the coolest Christmas card I ever got. She used to work in the printers workshop in the village. On the front was a snowman I think with a red scarf. Inside the card read:
Wishing you a piss poor Christmas and a fucking horrible new year.