Recently I lost a dear friend to cancer. I met Sarah in 2013, in the first year of my mummy blogging journey. She was a fellow blogger and she took me under her wing. She made me laugh (so much), gave me incredible tips and advice, listened when I ranted and was just generally an incredible human and friend.
When we moved to Mauritius from London in 2015 our friendship went mostly online. But every time I went back to the UK she was one of the few people I made sure I met up with.
Sarah always had a theme for each new year which she blogged about. They are so inspirational and I urge you to read her themes here (they are in chronological order):
I usually have a word for the year. In the past I've had RISE, HAPPINESS, EXPERT, FEMININE, COURAGE amongst others.
Then just before the new year I received the news that Sarah was being moved to a hospice.
My vivacious, funny, live-life-to-the-max friend.
I thought back to the last time I saw her, in June 2019, on my last trip back to the UK.
I wasn't at all motivated to go out that evening.
But I knew that a night out with Sarah was worth the lack of sleep.
We got kicked out of the restaurant we'd gone to for dinner, as the staff wanted to go home.
As we were far from finished catching up we went to the pub next door, and finally went our separate ways at 2am.
I am so glad I took that time to see her. I feel like we went all in, even though neither of us knew that it would be the last time.
As I thought back over that last time we were together a motto came to me for this year, just like Sarah's yearly themes:
I CHOOSE LIFE
Whilst I'm a happiness expert, and do tend to live my life to the max, as an empath I also get sucked in to other people's dramas and negativity.
Also as someone who likes order I often find myself attempting to get to the bottom of my to do list (in case you are wondering, this is an impossible task, those lists are bottomless).
So my motto / theme for this year is about choosing life.
Saying yes to fun instead of chores.
Slapping a smile on my face instead of getting caught up in arguments.
Getting off the sofa and living life, instead of mindlessly watching Netflix (although Bridgerton put paid to that for a while!).
I have "I CHOOSE LIFE" on the home screen of my phone in case I forget.
Last Saturday saw me choosing life, by heading to the beach with Ben and 9 year old Clémence to catch the sunset.
We swam in the sea and then were joined by a few friends.
We chatted, watched the most beautiful sunset, left Clémence to play and dig in the sand, then headed home for an evening on the sofa (because I don't want to have to give that up completely!)
I spent a lot of the weekend reading Sarah's old blog posts, and it really helped me.
To feel closer to her.
To remember her spirit for living life to the full, for kindness, for fun, for smiles, love and laughter.
And it inspired me to blog more frequently.
I started my first blog in 2007, just after Léna was born.
Then I started my mummy blog in 2012 when I was pregnant with Clémence.
I love blogging, but often writing a blog post gets pushed too far down the list.
So, thanks to Sarah, I'm going to make that a priority again.
And I dedicate this blog post, and this year's motto / theme, to you Sarah / Grenglish / Smudge.
Thank you for being such a fab friend, cheerleader, inspiration and role model.
I will always remember you as you were the last time we were together, on a June evening in London, when we both felt like the world was our oyster:
I turned 46 this year and I feel so lucky to be alive. I'm not going to waste that, so I CHOOSE LIFE!
If you are struggling to enjoy life I suggest you read Sarah's blog posts from above, or just delve into any of her posts. You will laugh, you might cry, you will go away feeling good.
Look after yourself lovely.