I am handing this blog over to my sister today, who has written a beautiful tribute to her great friend, Lisa Kelly, who sadly passed away a year ago today.
Unbelievably, its been a year today that I lost a truly unforgettable friend.
I still struggle to come to terms with the what’s, why’s and how’s.
I still cry whenever I hear a song that reminds me of her; of which there are many. And I still think about her every single day.
She had many sayings & quotes. Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda now haunts me.
Even though circumstances put distance between us in her final years, we’d spent such a significant life affirming time together that we were bonded for life.
She changed my life. I can honestly say I’d be a different person had I not met her.
I knew where I wanted to go and who I wanted to be, but I had no idea how to get there. She showed me. She changed my negativity and self doubt into positivity and self belief. She genuinely loved to make people feel happy. Her childlike boundless energy was infectious.
Crazysexycool was her definition of herself. She was definitely all of those, although not necessarily all at the same time!
‘Who needs a telly when you’ve got Lisa Kelly’
This was true! There was certainly never a dull moment.
Music was her life. I met her in 1999 when she moved into the villa I lived in in Dubai. She was a breath of fresh air.
She made me laugh so much. Side splitting belly laughs.
She was a presenter on Dubai FM and a DJ. We become best friends and after a year in Dubai, both decided to uproot to Australia. Here she started presenting on Rhythm FM and DJ’d in several bars and clubs in Sydney.
She was in her element.
She was in love with a boy, a city, and her music.
Many many stories were created in the year we were there. Too many to tell. All would involve friends, family, music, fun, laughter and probably vodka.
She was fiercely loyal to her friends and family. She loved them all. I thought I knew some of them I’d never met because she talked about them constantly.
Most had a nickname. Even if Lisa was the only one who used it.
If you cared too much about what others thought, she’d say “those that matter don’t mind and those that mind don’t matter”
If you wanted to go home early she’d say “here for a good time, not a long time”
If we hadn’t eaten properly for a week because we were either too busy, too wasted, or too broke, she’d say “No such thing as too skinny!”
I didn’t say all her advice was good advice…
I had to leave Australia when my visa ran out and Lisa followed me a few months after.
She landed a job presenting on a radio station in Bristol and DJ’d in bars and clubs. All was going well, even though she still pined for Sydney.
Unfortunately she was made redundant when the station was taken over and turned into a commercial radio station. I remember Lisa saying she didn’t want to be told what to say or play.
It was here things slowed down.
Whenever we spoke, she’d always say she’d been listening to all our Australia ‘tunes’ and looking at photos.
I believe she never truly moved on. She wasn’t ready to leave Sydney and I think she was waiting for something else to top it.
This is just my theory. I’d not spent any time with her over the last 5 years.
She was living in Cyprus. I’d had a baby. We spoke occasionally. She said she was happy.
She eventually moved back to England a year before she passed away.
She kept losing her phone, so it was hard to get hold of her. I knew she wasn’t herself. Her emails were vague, if she ever responded.
The Lisa I knew was all but gone. And whatever concerns I had, I brushed off as ‘its Lisa – she’s fine – if anyone can sort themselves out, she can’.
I feel guilt! If only I knew. If only I had delved a little deeper. Worried more.
Shoulda, woulda, coulda
I tell myself that I wouldn’t have been able to help, as she was a pretty determined little lady and knew how to get what she wanted.
A degree in psychology and a genuine passion for it, meant she was truly fascinated with people. It also meant she was smart enough to kid herself and others that all was well.
“Its not what you say it’s how you say it”
It turns out she was an alcoholic. Drink was her demon. We all knew she liked a drink but most of us had no idea of the extent of her problem until she was in a coma.
We all liked a drink in our 20s, but it’s as though Lisa never really left the party. Even after all her friends left and got on with their lives, Lisa stayed and waited for the party to get good again.
Maybe she drank to remember, or maybe she drank to forget. I don’t know. I don’t think she could have even told you.
Alcohol had taken her over.
Lisa didn’t ruin her life. Alcohol did.
And, I truly believe it is a disease. Some people have a weakness for it more than others, but that doesn’t mean they are not worthy of help, sympathy or understanding. If it can take hold of someone like Lisa; someone so strong and full of life as she was, then it is a truly powerful disease indeed.
I believe that had she survived this time (there had been several admissions to hospital in that year apparently), she would have gone on to help others in her situation. As she will never get that opportunity, I hope this post might do so in her honour.
If this inspires just one person to get help for themselves or someone else – I’m sure she would be happy and proud.
Lisa, I am so grateful to have had you in my life. Thank you for all the laughs, the lessons and the fun.
And, I am so so sorry you’re no longer here.
Love your friend, Angie (Smudge)
Lisa Bainbridge aka Lisa Kelly
20th April 1973 to 23rd November 2012 – Age 39
Help can be found here…