Louise as I like to remember her, with her beloved Pom Pom and hula-hoop gear (holes in tights), in her kitchen at Evering Rd
Tuesday 2 March should have been just another day. Except that it isn’t. It is ten years exactly since we received the terrible news that Louise was dead.
I love this photo, taken in Branscombe when she was about 15, so full of life
The thing about anniversaries is that they are just another day, but we are compelled to make them special. So I find some less seen photographs of Louise, Ross updates the website with memories and tributes from friends, and we share our grief on this particular day, and hope that her friends will take a minute to remember her too.
The many faces of Louise
We are not disappointed – messages flood in from all over the world and it comforts us. She was much loved by young and old.
But the truth is that every day is a day without her – for Ross, Tommy and me. I don’t know if you know that moment when you just wake up and feel a fleeting moment of happiness. And then you remember the lurking subconscious emotion that you tried to forget while you slept.
If you’re bereaved, every day is like that, even though you get up and carry on with the day, just another day, presenting a normal face to the world. The truth is that other people’s grief is unimaginable and unbearable which is why society dictates special days for remembering the dead.
Nevertheless the ten years have both dragged and flown. As Lou’s friends get paired up and have babies – yes, some have two or three – it is impossible not to imagine how she would look, what she would be doing, and if she would be a mother herself – even if only to a pride of cats. Would she still be an avid gardener, growing her own veg? Making her own clothes and setting the bar for fashion amongst us all? What colour would her hair be? Would she still have a crazy sense of humour? Would she now be a fashion designer or graphic artist or a successful entrepreneur (read Ross’s piece on her early efforts at business on http://www.louisecattell.com). It’s all too heartbreaking, so we just remember her as she was during her short life, and now stuck at 21 forever.
The many faces of Louise
This is a particularly difficult year to try and commemorate Louise in the spirit which she would have liked – Bench AWOL, no gatherings or parties allowed, and an air of general pervasive gloom. For Pickle this makes no difference. With an uncanny sense of timing at around midnight on 1 March, just when Louise died, she went absolutely nuts – tearing round the house, pronking on all fours and yowling, like a creature possessed. As indeed we are sure she is – Louise’s spirit is dropping in.
Like Pickle, she loved to be crazy
The good news is that Gordon of Camden Council responded well to my appeal to have the Bench in situ for the anniversary, and hey presto it is here nailed ‘illegally’ – as the rather stroppy building supervisor at Evans cycle shop tells us – to the hoarding. Surreptitiously we decorate the Bench with garden flowers and Tesco tulips, and then clandestinely open some fizz and red wine, share crisps and brownies. Passersby look on curiously, some disapproving, others sympathetic. The workers drip-feed from the building site, bemused. At 6 pm we hold the minute’s silence and then raise a toast, ‘Louise!’
More from the albums – attitude and friends
However, ten years is a milestone so, when we can, we will organise a celebration for us all to come together .
She shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary her, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember her.
‘She was sunshine’ – Tim Arnold
At Secret Garden Party, 2010, in my school boater
There are lots more photos and memories on http://www.louisecattell.com