Surrey was an incredible force of nature and light for so many people. She was kind, polite and incredibly caring. If she was talking to you, you felt like the most important person in the room. She was also incredibly strong and determined. It was not wise to stand in Surrey's way.
Surrey waving the flag
(Photo by Rupert Cole)
I have so many incredible memories of Surrey. When I first came into Other Books, she made me feel welcome and appreciated. Just having her know who I was felt huge. There were the incredible Victorian picnics where she would organize egg races and badminton.
Surrey made them do this.
That's her in the back with the megaphone dressed
as a WWI nurse- CAN YOU GET MORE FRIGGIN' AWESOME THAN THAT??!?
There was our awesome travels together in England, where she showed me Bristol, the city she grew up in. When she was a little girl, Surrey survived the bombing in that city during WWII. She was able to die peacefully in bed decades later after a long and very full life. Her own personal 'screw you' to the Nazis.
She also took me on a walking tour of London. We visited the Globe, the Tower and other big spots, but also wandered around finding amazing little things you've never heard of, like a prostitute's graveyard and a community garden started in a poor and industrial neighborhood by social reformers in the 19th century. We saw the last walls of the Marshalsea prison, and then she moved heaven and hell to be sure we would get to Gads Hill and see Dickens' house.
There's a whole saga about getting here that involves us almost
dying in a road rage incident on the M5. It was totally awesome.
Yesterday I went to a gathering of family and friends at her daughter's house. It seemed like so many Surrey and Gregor parties, I kept waiting for her to walk through the door. It seemed, and still does, almost inconceivable to me that she is gone.
Yesterday was full of the initial shock of death. Making phone calls to friends, driving to see folks. Just trying to be in the company of others whom she had touched. For most of the day, despite my intermittent tears, I tried to be positive. I know that she did not suffer, and that she is not suffering now. I fully trust that an amazing spirit such as hers is now off on yet another incredible journey and adventure. I know that I am lucky that she touched my life along with so many others.
By the time I got home I just lost it and bawled myself to sleep. Screw being positive. I want my friend back.