This is my lovely cousin Steph. Two weeks ago Steph died in the most horrific of circumstances and we are all devastated. Due to the great shock and sadness of her going, and the unfortunate media interest, I decided not to write for a while. I didn’t want to be quoted, or misquoted, and I still don’t. But Steph was a huge fan of the blog and so was her family, and talking to them, and with their blessing, we’ve decided it’s time I came back and started writing again. When tragedy happens we still need things to brighten up our day and for my family, now more so than ever. So today’s blog is dedicated to Steph.
I don’t want to focus on how she died, I want to focus on how she lived. And Steph lived life full of beans. She smiled her way through life, and when she smiled she had the most incredible dimples. It’s one of the things my sister and I recollect about her from her childhood. Check them out on the photo! She was active and cheerful, sensitive and kind. I can also guarantee she was the coolest aunt ever.
As children, we used to visit and stay for several days at a time, and my recollection was that Steph was quite the Tomboy. While her sister and I were living the dream playing with dolls and pushing them to the shops in prams, Steph had little time for dolls and chose other pursuits. (That said though I’m sure she had a selection of Pippa dolls. I remember one with an orange boiler suit.)
As a group of cousins, we all have happy memories of playing and using their wooden climbing frame in the garden. (We didn’t have one so I always thought hers was incredibly cool.)
Although we frequently kept in touch via Facebook and the blog, the last time I actually saw her was just under two years ago when she came to Orkney for a visit. It was May and the weather could’ve been kinder. I remember her being so cold and I always feel responsible when visitors come and the weather is bad, but despite the wind and rain she managed to keep smiling. Here she is looking for seals at the Point of Ness.
While Steph was here she fell in love with two things. One was our dog Hope and the other was my rhubarb cake . She wanted the recipe and mentioned how much she loved rhubarb and how she would have to buy some. Buy some? I was aghast. Rhubarb grows so freely here that there is always more rhubarb than there are people to eat it and huge patches of it end up rotting away. I always have a freezer full of it and Orkney Beef usually opens his jam factory for a day. If only we had a way to enable Steph to get some home. She also played with Hope non-stop (not the dog in the picture) and when she left I discovered a little addition to my to do list.
Goodbye lovely Steph. You have left a huge hole in the lives of so many people who loved you dearly. I still can’t believe you are gone and will treasure your memory. You left me with two instructions. ‘make more rhubarb cake, play with Hope (more)’
In your honour, I’ll do that Steph. I’ll definitely do that.