For Donna

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Yesterday I went to visit my best friend, but she wasn't there, in fact she won't ever be there and I won't ever get to see her because my best friend died on the 11th of October 2007.

I get asked a lot about my friend Donna because I have mentioned her in a couple of video's and I have been asked to actually make a video all about her and what happened etc but I can't, I just couldn't do it, I would cry way too much and nobody would be able to make sense of it. But after going to visit her yesterday I thought it was about time I told you all about her, she was too lovely for me not to.

My lovely friend Donna was introduced to me by one of my friends on a trip to our local family restaurant with ball pool attached you know the sort I mean, every half term a group of us who were all mums of girls in the same class visited one of these food and play type places, we all had nice food and the children played whilst the mums had a good chat. Donna had moved next door to one of my mummy friends and she had invited her along to meet some new people, we hit it off instantly and became really good friends.

Donna worked at a primary school as a LSO so we spent time together mainly in the school holidays and weekends, she used to make me laugh always taking home the school fish or guinea pigs for the holidays to look after, her car loaded with school work and pets! Her little girl was 2 and a half years younger than Lissy and her son was the same age as Cole, in the same class at school. We had some great times together and also with our families, the mums carried on our half term trips out and we also attended events at our local Cricket Club with our families such as the Halloween party and the Christmas party etc it was great fun, me, Simon, Cole and Lissy loved it as did all our other friends and their families and all our children were roughly the same age so they always had a lot of fun too, I have some great memories of Simon and Donna dancing to "your the one that I want" from Grease at the Christmas party 2006. Donna loved my girlies and became very close to them, she used to give Cole clothes and sparkly things, they liked the same things so she knew what Cole would like, she bought tops and jewellery and they used to love talking about clothes, sparkle and all things pink.

At the end of May 2005 Donna said she had a funny feeling in her throat almost like there was something stuck in it, she went to see her GP and was told it was anxiety and prescribed some medication. Donna was a little perplexed as she wasn't anxious about anything, this was her first visit to the GP since she moved to the area 6 years previously, so the GP had never seen her. After a month of taking the tablets and seeing no improvement Donna went back to the GP, they said again it was anxiety. This carried on for a few months and by October Donna had lost so much weight it was un real and by this time was having trouble swallowing her own saliva, the GP reluctantly told her she could go for a CT scan but it would probably be a few months to get the appointment, to cut a very long story short, Donna went private she didn't want to wait so long as she was suffering. She had a Gastroscopy which is a camera down your throat and into your stomach, to see what was happening.

On the 15th of December 2005, Donna's husband Darrell's 40th Birthday, she had an appointment to get the results of her Gastroscopy, she was told it was probably a large ulcer or hernia and biopsy's had been taken. Later that day the hospital rang and said could she please go back to see them at 6pm, when Donna went back, she said the first thing she noticed was that on the desk was a tray with a tea pot, cups and saucers, milk, sugar and a box of tissues. She said she knew instantly from the tissues and tea tray what was coming.

Donna had cancer, cancer of the Oesophagus, a large tumor. I'm not going to go into the details of what followed, but basically Donna was given intensive Chemotherapy to shrink the tumor then she went in for surgery to remove her oesophagus and to have her stomach stretched to make her a new one, she went for the surgery and the cancer had already spread, the surgery couldn't be done.

Donna had scans every 3 months to check on the tumor and the sad and ironic thing is the doctors couldn't ever see it, the chemo did it's job it shrunk it, I remember Christmas of 2006 Donna had had a good report on the tumor saying it hadn't grown and we were talking about what to wear for the party at the Cricket club and I said " I might just wear jeans and a top" and Donna said "I've just been given another 3 months I'm wearing my party frock" and she did.

Donna was beautiful inside and out, she was glamorous and always took pride in her appearance, so much so she used to go jogging with her hair and make up done perfectly, she would jog past my house and wave looking like something from vogue in a tracksuit! Once she had been to aerobics and been brave and showered at the gym, she needed some money so stopped at the cash point on the way home, she noticed someone she knew so she hid in the foot well of her car so they wouldn't see her without her make up done and with wet hair! But she wasn't vain, just beautiful, she always looked immaculate, she loved shopping, we have been on so many shopping trips it's unreal, she was a definite shop a holic. She always looked lovely, I remember going to pick up Hannah her daughter from school in a lovely red prom style dress with red high heels on, red lipstick and she was totally bald, she looked amazing, totally overdressed but amazing, she said she might as well get her wear out of everything bless her.

We had some lovely times, most of them shopping, one time she needed a "fascination" for a wedding she was going to, hmmmm think she meant a fascinator but I still call them fascinations to this day. We went out for lunch we spent time at each others houses, we just spent time, precious time. Donna had a spell in our local hospice during Easter 2007, so her pain medication could be regulated, I took her a Thorntons egg with her name on it, and we sat on her bed reading the Next directory eating chocolate, I have never been able to buy a Thorntons egg since.

In September 2007 Lissy was away with school on a 3 day activities holiday, Donna text as she always did in the morning to say was I 'playing out' this meant she was calling to my house for a cup of tea and a 6 hour chat, I didn't have to take Lissy to school with her being away so Donna came when she had done the school run, when Lissy was in school we always walked together. I opened the door and noticed the whites of Donna's eyes were yellow, and I just knew, years of nursing sometimes gives you the worst knowledge ever. She said she had a new pain in her side, the day after she was going to the hospice, she used to go once a week and do art and craft and have her hair done etc but there was always a doctor there too, so she said she would tell him, the day after she went to the hospice and she never came out again.

Whilst Donna was in the hospice I visited most days apart from weekend as I wanted to leave that for her children and other family members, we used to sit on her bed and watch To Buy or Not To Buy on BBC1 and other housey type things, we'd talk about what we would do to our houses, I'd do her hair and choose outfits, and stay for lunch, one day we had the radio on and the Sugar babes song About you now came on and we danced to it and sang and then cried together, but every time that song came on after that we danced, even if it was bed dancing, we danced, I can't listen to that song now, it is on my iPod but I can't listen to it.

We had so many conversations in those last few weeks, lots of tears but also lots of laughter too, and many many hugs, we spoke about her lovely children and she asked me to always keep an eye out for them and for Darrell and I promised I would. I remember saying to her what was I going to do without her, and she said she would always be with me and she had read once that if someone who has died is around you see a white feather, so she said "you'll know I'm there if you see one, I read about it so lets see if it's true" Donna didn't want to die, she wanted to see her children grow up and that was the thing she said the most, she was so thrilled when it was Rhys's prom and he was all dressed up in his suit, and so proud of him getting his GCSE results. She was devastated she wouldn't see them get married or have children she loved Rhys and Hannah more than anything and didn't want to leave them, she made memory boxes for them both, and I told her I would always tell them about her and our funny times together, and above all I would be there.

There are so many things I could write here but it would be a mammoth post and I don't want to bore you all, but those few weeks that Donna was in the hospice are the most precious few weeks of my life.  The hospice sold little handmade things to sell to raise money and one day when I went to visit Donna had bought me a little handmade 'Hug' so I would always have a hug from her when I need one.

Around the Thursday, 27th of September Donna was told there was no more treatment she could have, the cancer had done it's worst, it had won, I went to see Donna and she told me that there wasn't anything else that could be done. By this time Donna was changing she was looking different, so I explained to Cole and Lissy that there was no more medicine for Donna and that she wasn't going to get better, it broke my heart. Cole wanted to keep going to see Donna but I knew it was going to get harder for both of them, so on Saturday the 29th of September 2007 Cole said goodbye to Donna, her sparkly, pink loving partner in crime. It was one of the hardest things I have done, hearing Cole and Donna in that room, I was outside breaking my heart listening to their words to each other and their final "I love you's"

I continued to visit Donna and then the time came and I knew I had to say good bye, I sat on her bed with my head on her chest holding her hand and asked if she could hear me, she gently squeezed my hand, and then I said my good byes, I'm not going to write what I said it is too personal but I told her how amazing she was and what an amazing mum she was and a fab friend and that I loved her and would miss her.

Just before midnight on Thursday 11th October 2007 Donna lost her battle, she was just 38 years old.

I miss Donna so much and think about her every day, we talk about her all the time too, I am extremely close to Hannah as are Cole and Lissy, she calls them her big sisters and that's what they are, they are her big sisters, they love her so much, she calls me her adopted mamma, it is so lovely, I'm so glad we are close, she is my other little girl and I love her so much, she is a massive part of our lives. I tell Hannah about funny things me and her mum did and tell her things about her mum, I promised Donna I would look after her and I will, she is lovely and Donna would be so proud of her, she is a beautiful little girl who looks more like her mum every day. I don't see Rhys as much as I would like to do, he is almost 22 now and a young man with his own life, but he knows I'm here for him anytime at all. I have remained very close to Darrell and he has become a really close friend of both mine and Simon's.

In case you are wondering, I see many white feathers on a weekly basis, in fact on Friday when Cole was doing her make up a white feather came floating down in front of her. We have seen them in the most bizarre places, round the pool in Greece, outside PC World lots of strange places but we see them, and they always make me smile.

Thank you so much for reading this, I didn't want to go into every detail of Donna's illness and my memories of her, there are so many anyway it would take me far too long but also some things need to remain personal, I hope you understand. I have sobbed so much writing this post that my keyboard is soaked! I hope you enjoyed finding out a little bit about my angel, I'm off to have my hug now.

My 'hug' from Donna 

Much love as always

Zoe x

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