There is a very famous first line of a novel which came to mind when I heard the news. In Love Story by Erich Segal, Oliver Barrett IV says “What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant? That she loved Mozart and Bach, the Beatles, and me?”
The quote kept going around in my head, with some slight modification. “What can you say about a thirty-four-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant? That she loved food and travel, Dexter the dog, and Steve?”
There’s no other way of putting it really; on 15 July 2014, my friend Kate passed away after a tragic accident and knowing that I will never see her again, is terribly sad.
I worked with Kate for six years, but I can’t really remember her being just a work colleague, we had a lot of fun together:
At the risk of sounding like the cliché queen, Kate really was a ray of sunshine. She was always bright and positive. A doer, always trying new things and going to new places. She had a tremendous passion for life and I take comfort from the fact that she experienced so much.
Kate was witty and intelligent. At work she was calm and composed and had a confidence and self assurance that made everyone feel at ease.
Outside of work she was a pleasure to spend time with. I can remember so many social events that we enjoyed together; canal boats, comedy nights, dinners, dancing, drinking. She was at my flat when the infamous ‘Robert Leader’ cocktail was invented. I say invented as though it was something that we planned or thought through. I think the conversation went something like this:
[Quite a few vodkas into the evening at Chateau de Josiejolene]
Me: Right, who wants another drink? Vodka and orange all round?
Me: Balls. I’ve only got a tiny amount of orange juice left.
One of the gang: [Because my measures of vodka are always colossal] Can you add something else to it?
Me: Erm… I haven’t got much else.
One of the gang: I’ve got some Red Bull.
Me: Fair enough, let’s stick it in.
If memory serves correct, I think Kate was the guinea pig who tried the made up drink for the first time and deemed it acceptable for the rest of us to drink. I can’t recall why we decided to also stick a cocktail cherry in it. Drunk logic I’m sure.
Inspired by my gorgeous, enthusiastic, adventurous and spirited friend, I have spent a lot of time thinking about how I could best pay tribute to her and I have decided upon List 34.
The list consists of 34 things that I would like to achieve by the time that I am 40. An age that until 15 July, I was pretty apprehensive about heading towards. Now, I’m just grateful to have the opportunity.
Goodbye my lovely friend. Thank you for the smiles, the laughter and the good times: