Saturday, February 14, 2015


Sometime in the last century I saw an advert in the paper: someone was making a TV programme about best friends, and they wanted volunteers to be on it. Being a bit of a show-off, I suggested to Mary that we should offer, and she, being a shy, private person was horrified.

Mary died yesterday at home, surrounded by her beloved family.

If she thought about it beforehand she might guess I was going to say something about her on here, and I am.

Mary could be infuriating, embarrassing, and – for the first twenty years of our friendship – invariably late. But outside of my large family (and yes, Dave, as you define family differently from me, I am including you in my family) Mary was the person in my life I have loved the most.

In so many ways we were opposites. I am driven. She was whatever the word is to define minus drive. I could be writing at 6 a.m. She would be eating her porridge at noon. It would have driven me insane to share living space with her. But our values overlapped completely, and as a friend she was unsurpassable. She was a huge emotional support through long tough times in my life. She was caring, compassionate, tactful, loyal, discreet, non-judgmental, and considerate. (Ten years ago, she stopped being late.)

Another dear friend sent me a sweet email yesterday saying she knew I’d be devastated by Mary’s death. That about sums it up.

feb08 031 

And here’s that Dinah Craik quote again…

“But oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one's deepest as well as one's most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely.

Oh, the comfort — the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person — having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.”

Aysgarth, Nov 2011 008


Anonymous said...

Oh Sue.

marmee said...

I have hesitated about commenting...sympathy can be intrusive. But here I man is an island...and we are your community and we, I , can only say that we are aware of your grief and pain and loss. And that I are aware of it with a sense of affection for you...that I hold you in that affection while you are in such painful place.

Sue Hepworth said...

I am touched and very grateful for your kind thoughts and sympathy. Thank you for commenting, and for holding me in your affection and thoughts. xx

Anna Anderson said...

This is Anna, Mary's niece from Oregon. I think what you wrote captures Mary so perfectly. I know what an incredibly important and dear friend you were to her. Whenever we would drive to Chatsworth for a visit, she would comment (when we drove through your neighborhood) how much she valued you and your friendship. Sending love and thoughts of healing--

Sue Hepworth said...

Hello Anna. Thank you for being in touch. I'm so pleased you like what I wrote about Mary. And thank you for the rest of what you said. It's a shame we only met that one time. Mary talked about you such a lot with huge affection. Your support through her illness was so important to her, and was one of the things that helped her to maintain her optimism.

caryll cram said...

Love this quote, and I too am sorry for your loss. We lose many things but there is nothing as irreplaceable as a perfect friendship. It sounds like Mary was this for you.

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you, Caryll. I miss her everyday.