An Anniversary

Cyd, in younger days

Seven years ago today I lost a really good friend, taken far too young by cancer – she was just 45. I posted in her memory a year later and re-shared the piece in 2017. Thinking about this anniversary always brings me back to the early days of my blog, as Cyd was to me more than just a friend: she was an advisor, a kind of spiritual guide as I was taking my first tentative steps into the world of blogging. I doubt that many of you will have seen this post before, as most of you weren’t following my blog in 2016 or 2017, and I want to share it again both in her memory and as a kind of ‘why do we blog?’ piece. I’ll give you the original and then return at the end for a new comment or two. This is a slightly edited and shortened version of what I said back then:

THANK YOU

Why am I here today? July 28th. Is it a special day in the calendar? No, not as far as I know, but it has special meaning for me. When I started this blog it was at the instigation of my counsellor, who wanted me to turn what I had been writing for him as part of our therapy sessions into a blog, for others to read. At around the time that I was going through this I met Cyd via Twitter and we became good friends. She was an amazingly creative and funny person, who had suffered much more than her fair share of the horrible things that life can throw at us, but bore it all with wit, courage, charm and determination. She was an accomplished blogger and photographer, she loved singing and dancing – she had been at stage school, which is where the photo at the top comes from – and became the most wonderfully supportive follower of my blog from when it first started, giving me loads of useful advice and constructive criticism. My sparing use of brackets is entirely down to her, and you’ll find the occasional comment from her on some of my early posts. We used to chat for hours about anything and everything. Throughout this period she was ill and being occasionally hospitalised, and this took a turn for the worse when she was diagnosed with cancer. But she recovered – so typical of her! Then life played its last and most cruel trick. Within weeks of being given the all clear she began to suffer debilitating migraines, which turned out to be brain cancer. Sadly, this was one battle too many, even for her, and she was taken from us on July 28th 2015, one year ago today, at the age of just 45. It seemed appropriate to mark this and to remember her, and this is the best way I know to do it.

I’ve always thought that Cyd was an outstanding writer, especially when you consider that many of her posts were written at a time when she was unwell – and was also facing online trolling, for reasons I never understood. Here’s a brief example of her writing:

“It has been truly tiring to have to deal with all this external nonsense, but I did anticipate it. Sadly, if you don’t do things in a way that other people do, they see you as someone with a hidden motive. I have nothing hidden. I live the way I live and I do it openly. I love who I love and I give that everything I have. To get through this, I have a three pronged approach. Aggressiveness towards the cancer itself. Love intensely and focus on that more than anything. I truly live for love. Last but by no means least, stay me. Laugh like I always did, don’t ever forget myself and don’t let others forget who I really am.”

That is from the final post she ever made, in October 2014, and is the perfect example of the way she lived. Sadly, her blog is private so I can’t give you a link to it.

Thinking of Cyd today has made me wonder whether you, if you are a fellow blogger, have someone without whose advice and support your blog might not exist, or may not have developed in the way that it did. We write for ourselves, and we write for our readers. But you may well have your own ‘Cyd’ who has helped you in ways which won’t be known to anyone but you. I have been having doubts about whether I should continue blogging but these have now gone, and that is in part because I have realised how much I owe it to myself to continue, as indeed I do to you, dear reader, and to people like Cyd who have helped me along the way. Over the past few months I have enjoyed the company here of many new readers, and have had much greater engagement with my posts than at any time since the very beginning. In return, I have been much more active in commenting on others’ blogs than I can ever remember, and I wouldn’t want to lose that sense of community. Cyd’s blog was one of the first I ever read, and it gave me an understanding of what blogging was about, and what it could be. I like to think that in these recent months I have really begun to put that understanding into practice, and look forward to continuing to do it.

I hope you can also recognise and give thanks for those who are or have been in your life and who have played a role in making you the writer that you are. In future, I’ll be more likely to think “what would Cyd have said?” about posts I write, and I hope that will improve them. Maybe her spirit can be my muse? And every time that happens, I will say a silent

“Thank you, for being there, and for having been a part of this.”

Back to 2022 now. As you will see from that piece, I had been questioning whether I should continue blogging. My posts in those days were much less frequent: now you get two or three a week, back then you were lucky (if that’s the right word?) to get one a month, but that was before the days when this became much more a music blog than anything else, though I do have my occasional ‘other’ moments, like this one. But I do still ask myself those questions – usually after a Tuesday Tunes post hasn’t gone down as well as they usually do! The answer is twofold: firstly, many of you will know that in tandem with posting more frequently myself I have become much better at interacting with the blogs I follow, and that community is important for all of us. Otherwise, we might all be asking why we do it! Secondly, I never forget those, like Cyd, who have assisted me with my writing and have, with their support and encouragement, helped me to become the vaguely competent blogger that you see now. You may have people who you feel like that about: we should recognise that we owe them a debt of gratitude, which we can best repay by continuing to enjoy what we do. If nothing else, I hope this piece gets you thinking about why you blog and to whom you might owe some thanks: we all need to take stock every once in a while.

One final word. I think it extremely unlikely that Cyd’s daughter, Taylor, will see this, but in that event I hope she will recognise that her Mum’s support and love have had an important effect for me, and that her memory lives on. We all need a Cyd to have that impact on our lives: even if they have been taken from us in the most unkind way they can remain a happy memory.

33 thoughts on “An Anniversary

  1. Pingback: Hot Days In July | Take It Easy

  2. A beautiful tribute to Cyd, Clive I think we all need a Cyd at times…I have one and she was a great help when I first started blogging and is still around if I need a hand or a voice with an unbiased opinion…I too have considered giving up blogging but something inside persuades me I would miss it and the people and I think my voice of reason is correct…I was shocked at Jill’s revelation because of her politics that is truly shocking and although I have been tempted at times to air my political views I don’t…I hope you are having a good Sunday, Clive and keeping away from the politics as I am sure it’s all over the tv at the moment although of course the Lionesses play today so maybe they are getting some air time 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Carol. The anniversary of Cyd’s passing came round again and it just felt right to remind myself of what she had meant for my blog. This post has been well-received, which is gratifying.

      I think we’ve all been there with those thoughts of giving up, but I’m like you: I’d miss the community too much! I agree with Jill’s political views so I guess that makes it easier, but losing friendships and being threatened sounds rather extreme. I guess that’s modern day USA though. My political views tend to be brief comments in other posts, often in Tuesday Tunes. The current ‘government’ provides plenty of material. Trying to avoid the news is impossible, but it seems to be full of stories about which of the two fascist incompetents we’re going to be stuck with next. The Lionesses will, I hope, provide some much needed respite later on. 😊 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A sweet tribute to your dear friend. I’m especially grateful for others like Cyd who offered guidance when I had no idea what I was doing when I started. I think of many of my fellow bloggers as friends. We share pieces of ourselves and draw strength through understanding and empathy. The highlight of this year was meeting my first two bloggers in person. They were exactly as I pictured them to be—kind funny, and engaging. I’ve already gotten back far more than I ever dreamed.

    I’ve shared laughs and sorrows. When I need a break from blogging, I’ve learned not to feel guilty about it. This hobby (I consider it a meaningful hobby) is supposed to be fun. I’ll find something else to replace it if it ever becomes a chore. Life is too short to spend doing a bunch of things we don’t enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s that community spirit that makes blogging my preference among social media. If I want arguments with ill-informed morons or pictures of someone’s dinner I can go elsewhere for those. I remember your posts, and it was good that the views you had formed were validated. I much prefer bloggers who share their personality with us in their writing.

      I’ve had spells away from this. The longest was seven months, but something drew me back in: I realised I was missing it!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a lovely tribute to your friend, Cyd. I think I would have liked her, just from what you wrote here. One person helped me a lot when I started blogging, giving me pointers about answering every comment, keeping it to a reasonable length, etc., but he and I parted ways because once my blog became a political one, he didn’t much like my politics … 😉 imagine that! Lovely post, Clive … thanks for sharing Cyd with us!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was hard not to like her, you’d have got on well with her. I’m glad to have shared Cyd for those who wouldn’t have known of her before. Shame about the political fallout for you, though.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s too bad Cyd’s blog is private, for I would have enjoyed reading some of her posts. Ah yes, the political fallout has been quite an eye-opener … I’ve lost more friends over my political views than I can count. Even family and people I worked with for more than a decade no longer have any use for me, and some have even wished me dead! Amazing, isn’t it, how politics can divide us?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not even sure if it is still there, to be honest, and can’t remember the password anyway! She wrote beautifully: intelligent, meaningful posts with a large dose of irreverent humour.

        Those are the ‘friends’ you are better off losing. Death threats are taking it a bit far though!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. The old sad truism, ‘life just ain’t fair.’ Hold her memory near, you have been left a gift- you can use her words as a guide and mark. We all hit the ‘why bother blogging?’ bumps in the road, and we carry on because of humans like Cyd, The itch of expression needs to be scratched, the post becomes a scratching post (Note brackets; laboured metaphor!) The words need to be heard, even if it’s only by a few. This is a heartfelt fine and timely post, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Clive, thanks for sharing your poignant story about Cyd and her influence on you and others. I am sorry for your and her family’s loss. We all need a Cyd in our lives. And, please do not stop blogging. Your voice and wit are greatly appreciated by many more than just me. Plus, your comments on other blogs, including mine, are most welcome. Take care, Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Keith, your kind words are much appreciated. We do indeed all need a Cyd! And I’m afraid you won’t be seeing the back of me anytime soon 😊

      Like

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