For some time now I had been meaning to add a link to the list of 'Blogs I Read' to that of Mad Asthmatic, another with brittle asthma. I found out today that, very sadly, Emma died on Sunday. It wasn't the asthma that killed her, not directly at least. She also had diabetes and a heart condition, and it was a heart attack that she died from, but the asthma had worn her body down too. She didn't make it as far as hospital, despite calling an ambulance, and died in her own home.
I originally got to know Emma/Mad Asthmatic/Rusty through the Asthma UK discussion forum/support group, and as time went on we discovered that we had more in common than 'just asthma'. She was also keen on photography, creative writing, and a variety of craft activities. She loved reading and relatively recently graduated with an MA in English literature. It turned out that we shared a lot in the way we try to live our lives too, and in trying to make what we can out of each day, even if it's a bad health day. When Emma found out that I had a blog, she sought it out. She sought me out, and in doing that I found her blog. We posted comments to each others' blogs, and then we began to email each other privately too. We shared things with each other that can be difficult to express eloquently enough in a public space for those who haven't experienced to understand what it it's like, but we didn't need to be eloquent with each other. We've had some similar experiences; been confronted with promises of false hope, given by people who are too fearful to face the prospect of death that they haven't been able to cope with our talking about the reality of there being no further treatments; and we've felt the same fears. We never met face-to-face, but we certainly met heart-to-heart, and that is what friendship is.
Looking back at the last thing that Emma wrote on her blog, it reads almost like a premonition and a preparation. It is a beautiful piece of writing with a wonderful message in it. I'm sure she wouldn't mind me copying it into here for you to read:
The certainity of life is death, but the passage of time between birth and death is ours and ours alone.
Try to make sure when the time comes that you have few regrets of the life you have spent. Do not spend your life hanging your head down, for you will miss the temperance and severity of the world in which you live. Call a spade a spade and you won't go far wrong, if you give out harsh words be ready to receive them back. If you can not take what you yourself hand out then keep silent.
Friends will come and go. if they are meant to be true then they will remain and those who are just passing ships will pass through your life at the given times. Remember each friendship with affection but do not mourn its demise for another friend is around the corner.
Follow the road that you wish to follow for your life, do not just follow the crowd unless it is what you truly want. If you make a mistake then have the courage to rectify it, if you wish to take a different path to those around you do not apologise. For we have only one life and in order not to regret those missed opportunities then we must be prepared to walk against the crowd at some point.
Do not stay silent if there is someone you love, do not regret words unsaid, do not assume they know how you feel. Red faces can be got over but unsaid words will remain just that. Make it your mission to brighten one persons life each day with a smile and a hello. All free and yet can make such an impact. Do not ask "How are you today" if you don't want to know. Have the courage to be yourself and not care what others think.
Make having no regrets your mission for life.
Rest in peace and without regret, Emma.