A friend of mine passed away very recently. I don't think I have grasped it yet because the whole idea that she's no longer part of this world is so absurd, because she was the most alive person I ever met.
I want to share the story of how I came to knew her, because it is also the story of how I got into the re-enactment and 18th century costuming business and an illustration of how I will remember her.
Once upon a time...
Back in spring 1996, I was 14, going on 15, and me and my best friend were captivated by everything 18th century. I guess we obsessed about it in that way only teenage girls can obsess over stuff.
There was some celebrating over one thing or another in Stockholm town one weekend, and part of it was an 18th century masked ball in Old Town..!
(Now imagine two teenage girls reading this announcement in a newspaper. Then a REALLY high-pitched squee...)
It was an event for all ages and with what little money we got and parents' permissions, we were on our way! Wait... Right, we needed costumes.
"Oh well, how hard can it be?" we thought. The event was only two days away, but we had studied some sewing in home economics and besides, we were finally going to get those 18th century costumes we had been craving! What could possibly go wrong?
Our mothers sacrificed old curtains and sheets so we could get started. We had no idea what we were doing, of course. I don't think we even made sketches or anything but rather relied on divine inspiration or something...
I imagine there were two late nights until we finished our "costumes" but at last, there we were on the big night of the event.
I won't even try and describe what we looked like! If I had had photos I promise I would've showed them to you, but I don't... I guess we have to settle with "second-hand-store-and grandma's-linen-closet-threw-up-on-puppy-fat-teenage-girls". Or something. But we were rather happy with our results, if I remember things correctly (then again, we used to watch Valmont because of the, in our opinion, wonderful costumes...).
So we happily trotted away and got admitted to the premises. And then awkwardness ensued.
It didn't take us long to realise how wrong we looked compared to the other, real costumers. And it felt! No one said anything, but that made it all the worse I think, because people were just looking instead (and those weren't looks of admiration, that I can assure).
So there we were, wishing ourselves miles and miles away, awkwardest of all awkward teenagers in the world (I can't remember exactly, but at this point we were probably having a quiet argument about whose stupid idea it all had been in the first place...).
Then She turned up. She had immediately spotted two damsels in dire distress and simply walked up to us and said: "You need help! Stick with me, everything will be all-right!"
So she took us under her wings from that night and for many other nights (and days) to come. If it wasn't for her, I'm sure I would've never gotten the courage to try and get involved in 18th century re-enacting in the first place, and I would definitely not have dared to join Gustavs Skål! I only hope I may return the service to another person some day.
When I left the 18th century scene, she and I still kept in touch and when I realised I couldn't live without it for another day more (that was three years ago or so) I turned to her again for some encouragement and guidance. And she was there for me, yet again.
I think the story above says so much about her. That kindness was one of her sides, and she had many! I'm sure everyone of those who met her could tell a different and unique story about her person because if you could ever say that a person was "one of a kind", she was it. I could live for another 1,000 years and never meet her likeness again. Like all interesting personalities, she was complex and she had her difficulties in this life. If anything, I hope she has found peace of mind, because I think she never quite did in this world.
I am going to miss her so much.