Swift in the eves.

This blog is about two women and one date. April 20th.  I’ve written it to hold memory in the amber of cyberspace. I’ve been meaning to write it since  that date.

Katherine  worked at The University of Manchester and so did Julie Segar. . Julie had voted for me to become Chancellor.  She was dying and  requested a  particular poem signed by me. It was this one

“How do you do it?” said night
“How do you wake and shine?”
“I keep it simple” said light
“One day at a time”.

I offered  “Gold From The Stone”  because this is the first peice in it.  I said I could drop the book off at The Malmaison hotel in Manchester in a couple of days.  I took the book from my lodgings in London to Manchester and Kath duly picked it up and  took it to her bedbound colleague. I then set off for Ethiopia.   I returned on 20th April and switched on my phone. A new message.

Let’s go back again just before I left for Ethiopia. A message from a woman I love.  I don’t know why but from the moment I met Rebecca Swift  I knew we’d be friends for life.  It’s  rare this happens in life. Here are her words.  She too was dying.

On returning from Ethiopia. At  the same moment on April 20th (when I switched my phone on as the  plane  landed at Heathrow)  I read this message from Rebecca’s  dear partner. 

I couldn’t make the funeral. But I was  at 20th Anniversary of The Literary Consultancy a few weeks earlier.The acronym of The Literary Consultancy says everything about Rebecca. I was sat next to where this picture was taken.

I carry her book with me everywhere I go. I have it here now.

Of this I am sure:   life is not worth living if there is noone you would  die for.

10 thoughts on “Swift in the eves.

  1. Dear Lemn,
    How important it is to remember people we care about, both when they are alive, and even more, in some ways, when they are dead.
    As long as a person is remembered by another they exist in the world .
    And now I will remember too.
    I was glad to see you at Warwick. Your presentations are so diverse, and well crafted to the different audiences you present to. The woman sitting next to me talked about a NAYPIC video you and others made. She really valued its content yet no longer had a copy. I suggested to her she go and find a copy, and send it to you. Equally, I would be happy to do some searching – all I need to know to search is the year it was made, and whereabouts in the country – ie which Local Authority Area. I remember the existence of NAYPIC, but was never closely involved with it. Looking at what I have found so far , it looks like it was valuable it helping to challenge abuse of children in care, and this may relate to why it kept losing funding?
    While this is a response to your blog today, it also is not all relevant to the blog. Please feel free to edit it. With love, Judith

    • Notat all. It was islington council but I will find it. The film is documented in a book called Careless Lives by Mike Stein.

  2. Oh Lemn this is beautiful. It made me cry ( and that’s not a good look in bloody Namdos!). I’m sorry for the loss of these people, especially Rebecca who sounded like family to you. But your words mean so much to people. You’ll not recall this but my first personal contact with you was on Twitter. A really bad morning, hadn’t slept, feeling low and “how do you do it …” Appeared as your morning tweet. It was perfect timing. It saved me. I write more back to you a simple “love this”. You replied ” then it’s for you!” Imagine that. For me! Belated thanks for that and for knowing somehow just what to say. X

  3. Thank you for sharing this moving post Lemn. Touching to the core. The passing of two dear women, two spirits flying free.. I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend. Thinking of you. Thank you for reminding us of the transience of all this.. love and light, Anna

  4. Really makes you think …how two women surrounded by people who lloved and needed them living useful busy lives are taken from us so tragically …but yet are comforted by a few meaningful words ..how powerful is that ? I think it’s amazing but not surprising that people seek comfort in the written word especially if it is written with such love and sincerity

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