July 28th 2016
I had intended to write a second anniversary post but for some reason had dithered. A roundup of the previous year, short period of study followed by a temp job that became permanent, an opportunity into management, albeit a local area instead of the West End, back to the beauty industry and still failing at any attempt to write. On 1st July, I understood my next post was to be about Sarah's passing and how I didn't even know she was ill.
I first met Sarah Huq around 1997, didn't know her well, I worked as a temp and saw her from time to time. In 2009, accepting a perm job in fragrance, I met up with her again and we became friends. A quintessential English woman, always nicely presented, her first marriage ended in divorce, but she had her beloved daughter Emma. Happily remarried to Joy Huq, from Bangladesh, I never met her family but because of our many conversations, they seemed 'real' to me.
At the same time, I became friends with Sarah's manager, Julio, a constant source of entertainment and anguish for both Sarah and myself, but we always forgave him how he trampled our feelings. Sarah and I spent many lunchtimes just eating and reading, in amiable silence, leaving the chat for the shop floor. We attended the Grace Kelly Style Icon exhibtion at the V and A museum, along with Shamal - Sarah had to explore by herself, to properly take things in. She insisted on taking me to a Creperie in South Kensington, so I could try buckwheat crepes and joined me in a veggie filling, even though she wasn't vegetarian.
We talked about our lives, family, friends, pets, life,death, art, politics, anything and everything. When I left that job to start writing my second screenplay and just take some time for myself, we kept in touch by text and email, Julio I was in touch with via WhatsApp, much of the time and through my knee injury, the passing of both my sister Geeta and father, the subsequent legalities arising from dad's estate, Sarah and Julio gave me sympathy and support.
And last year whilst studying at home, Sarah was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Julio who had returned to his native Columbia and was in touch with me via WhatsApp, did not tell me Sarah was ill and neither did Sarah herself. So, to hear on 1st July from the stockroom guy pertaining to that job, that Sarah had died a few months ago tore me apart. I was at work, a Friday, I had the weekend to try to absorb that news but probably wouldn't have survived such a shock if not for my new friend Bill and his choice words.
The next few days I learned that Sarah had been ill for a year had died and was cremated March 14th 2016, without me seeing her, saying goodbye, attending her funeral.
What words can convey the shock, disbelief, horror and pain I have felt all of this month? Struggling to understand the behaviour of all those that knew about her illness and no one making any attempt to get in contact with me. I don't have any words but these - RIP Sarah, my lovely friend and colleague, no longer ill and suffering, now in the arms of the angels, I will remember you xxx