Hayley Robinson Cushan
Today we had a funeral. I didn’t expect it. But if you have been following along, then you know that already.
A few years ago, Hayley and I decided you could only have a few really close friends in your life. Five, or maybe seven at most.
I was Hayley’s third best friend. And at her funeral today, as her third best friend, this is what I said:
Hayley and I are only friends because of cancer.
We met when she came home to be diagnosed, and embark on her treatment.
We first met at CCK, the chiropractic office I was working in at the time, but we really became friends after meeting up at the Koala Bar in Noosa. We had both gone there to see a band, independently, and found each other by chance. I impressed Hayls with my Jump Dancing skills, (which are legion by they way), and we were friends from then on.
We were able to become close friends because of cancer.
Hayley wasn’t working at that stage, as she was devoting all of her energy to various things;
- strengthening her body,
- clearing her mind,
- eating nurturing organic food,
- and of course, getting ready to meet John, the love of her life, for the second time.
We used to spend endless hours lunching at the Organic Cafe, or swimming laps at Coolum pool, with lots of time to chat about all of the things under the sun. We thought we had forever.
When I was pregnant with Liam, Hayls told me that she would be “Aunty Hayley” and I agreed. I don’t have a sister, and having a pretend sister such as Hayls was a gift and a joy. I liked to think that people would hear Liam, and later, Coco, say “Aunty Hayley” and think we were actual sisters.
My ‘little sister’ made me laugh more than anyone in the world.
She softened my sharp edges.
She made me irreverent, made me swear, made me play, made me light.
I could tell her anything.
I could do anything, dream anything.
I could be my whole truth.
Because she encouraged such things.
So now the very thing that gave me my friend, my honorary sister, has taken her away.
A patient of mine told me last week that she believes some people build bridges toward others, that they have a talent for bringing people close. Hayley was one of those people. She built roads and tracks and pathways to entwine, and join us all together. She did it with her cheeky sense of humour, her naughtiness, her strength and her gutsiness, her loyalty and dependability, and her laugh, always her laugh. She built bridges to us all, and she built them well.
Hayley was a chef of food of course, but she was also a chef of the soul. It’s like she could take a little piece of you, the very piece that you liked the most about yourself, and then she would roll it and knead it and carefully bake it until it was all plumped up, making you better than you were before. It’s how she made her markings on your heart.
She named her cafe Sister, and even though I know it was meant for Rick and Belinda and Hayley, I like to imagine that she meant it for all of us. I like to think, that with the laughter that was always just under the surface, and ready to burst forth, and the truthfulness that was always, always there, that she made us all her sisters.
Those of you who know me, will know I love a good literary reference, and so today I would like share with you a reading. It’s called ‘The Best Friends Book’.
(Sorry blog readers: I gave the book to darling Olive, but it is by Todd Parr.. I did intend to take a pic of it to show you, but, well, I don’t think I was at my bloggy best… The last line is: )
“Best friends stay close even if they are a million miles away.”
Oh Halys, I wish you weren’t a million miles away.
Cheers. I might* be pissed as I post this. Sorry if it’s a bit rough. I’m not proof-reading.