I had to look her name up. I had to look it up every year for the Christmas card, or if I was rushed I would just write to the Butlers from the Trainors. It's a beautiful Irish name, pronounced Eevan. We had it as a question in the New Year quiz one year, her husband, Graham always did the quiz. Aoibheann lived on our road, she always asked how you were, she always cared about the answer.
There have been two cancer stories up our street for the past few months, mine and Aoibheann's. We have sat in our various rooms, feared our fears, bristled our will, taken our medicine. We have just missed each other in our sojourns on the Cancer wards. We have asked after each other and felt our singular sort of empathy.
Aoibheann's story ended yesterday. She had it in her throat, they got it out eventually after bombarding her body and spirit with particularly poisonous chemicals and deadly radio waves, each of which affected her terribly. Finally a viscous sweep of her throat got rid of the cells. She was clear but some delicate thread was cut, she just went to bed for a rest and died. She was on the path to survival but somehow it didn't happen
Our road, which is full of old and new friends who look out for each other, feels damaged, chipped, cracked.