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Saying Farewell

Despite having scheduled posts on here, I haven't been posting much artwork on my social media lately, and it's because my little sister passed away 2 weeks ago. I can't really carry on without saying something about her, so I want to share what I said at her farewell, and some images of us together, including a picture I drew of me, Nikkie and our friend Charlie as kids.

None of us were prepared for losing Nikkie. There have been so many memories and feelings just swirling around that are hard to get our heads around.

There’s anger. I don’t want to dwell on it, but so many of us have felt it. Over the years, Nikkie was let down and hurt by people who were supposed to help her, almost like they were trying to stop her from achieving what she could. Nikkie and the people around her were forced to fight against that almost up until the end.

There’s pride, because despite that, and with the support of so many people here, she still achieved so much. More than that, she worked to try to protect other disabled people from having to go through the same thing. Even with her anxiety, she expressed herself in so many different ways, meaning I got to see her DJ at the South Bank, play Lady Macbeth and read reviews that she’d written.

There’s Love - we argued and bickered like any siblings, but we always wanted the other to be happy and love. Life is complicated, but even when she was confused about how our relationship worked when we weren’t living in the same house or even the same side of the world, she loved me and wanted the best for me. Even when I was a teenager being annoyed by his little sister trying to come and hang out with him and his friends, I always knew she loved me.

There are memories - Spending a Saturday morning teaching Nikkie how to say “yellow” instead of ‘lellow”, or when we stayed overnight in Manchester, and she was starting to display a perfect Mancunian accent by the second afternoon. So many memories linked to music - yelling along to the end of “Bullet in Your Head” by Rage Against The Machine, singing along to Caron Wheeler and the Soul 2 Soul soundsystem at the Barbican, or cheering for the UK team at the World B-boy Championships.

There’s regret - I know how excited and proud Nikkie felt about being Theo’s aunt, and I am gutted that he won’t get to know her like I wanted him to. I know there were times when my attempts to show her affection, or to joke around with her came through as teasing or even insults. I’m so glad that she was eventually able to see those for what they were. Receiving messages and condolences from so many people whose lives she’d touched has been a revelation of how much she’d put out into the world. That means that there’s also regret that she didn’t realise all of this for herself, and how much she’d touched so many people’s lives. It’s easy to lose perspective when you are going through something like this, and especially when you find the world as confusing as Nikkie sometimes could. She’s left the world a better place for having her in it, which might be the most all of us can hope for.

I’m not sure how to end this, except to say what I was never really prepared for. Goodbye, Nikkie.

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