I wasn’t sure how or what to write but I knew I wanted to write something. There is this amazing human I met 2.5years ago at my friends hen party. Her smile, laughter and energy was infectious! You know when sometimes there’s a group of you and you’re all interlinked by the hen but don’t really know each other?! I knew I would be seeing Ali again. Ali had short cropped, newly grown hair after just having the all clear from breast cancer after chemotherapy but that’s not why…
We mostly met up for dog walks with her docile, well behaved Delilah (in comparison to my mental dog Rocco!) Delilah was basically her child, we would talk about how she would go everywhere with her and if people said no to the dog then Ali wouldn’t go! We talked about photography, the future, getting married, having a family and even maybe her coming and doing some shoots with me as she really wanted to get better at photography.
Then I didn’t hear much from her for a while and Lou my friend (the hen!) kept me up to date with Ali. The cancer had returned. It came back with a vengeance. But I don’t want to remember Ali as the girl with cancer, I want to remember her as the smiley faced, pink-haired nutter!
When Lou told me that they had brought their wedding forward from June 2014 to October 2013 with just 2 weeks to plan it, I instantly offered my photography up for free. Ali had that spirit about her that well, you just loved! She deserved to have an amazing wedding and amazing photos to boot! Ali and I met for lunch at Nanna’s kitchen (best lunch in Northampton!) and I will never EVER forget her positivity, her determinedness for life and that she wasn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. There were tears, hugs and mutual appreciation when we talked about her wedding day. I was really excited to be a part of it, I knew how much she couldn’t wait to marry her soul mate Jaz.
What can I say about the wedding?! It blew me AWAY! Ali was set on getting married before starting chemo again, she definitely wanted to be a pink haired bride as apposed to bald one! It was amazing, Ali & Jaz married at the Guildhall in Northampton, possibly the smallest room but the most PACKED ever!! it was ridiculous and in a laughable way, almost like the entire population of Northampton came to watch them be wed. The love on that day was second to none out of all the weddings I have ever shot. The whoops and cheers that erupted from the Guildhall as they said “i do” was like nothing I’ve ever experienced.
One of the things I loved about her the most was how she was constantly thinking about everyone else. I’ve not mentioned it on here before but my daughter was diagnosed with alopecia in November 2013 (a few weeks after Ali’s wedding) and has since lost 35-40% of her hair. Ali was talking to me about having Erin come see her bald head and wig so she knew it wasn’t so bad. Constantly thinking of others and she loved kids with a passion as any of her friends would tell you.
Tomorrow would have been Ali & Jaz’s 1st year wedding anniversary. I’m sat here tonight remembering the best wedding of the year! the insistence of Ali that I stay and have a drink with them once I’d finished photographing (not that I needed my arm twisting!), the love, the fun the out and out kick-ass-amazingness that was the union of two bloody amazing people. Sadly Ali didn’t quite make it in this world to her 40th birthday this June… although it was said she is a jammy bugger for being forever 39 years old. Just before her birthday all the girls (including me) got together and laughably got all WI on her and make a crochet blanket. There was about 20 of us, most of which had never crochet in our lives, blood sweat and tears went into it, we laughed about the blanket of love but in the end that’s exactly what it was. I won’t go into too much about it… it makes me happy to think that Ali is forever wrapped in the blanket of love and my heart breaks for Jaz, Jemma, Karen & Graham and all of their friends.
I didn’t want to focus too much on Ali’s passing but I just wanted to say one thing, if you are a Facebook frequenter such as myself, you may have noticed the 5 day positive challenge that started at the beginning of summer and went viral, where by you post 3 things that you are grateful for 5 days in a row. This started with Ali, it began from her funeral, Ali told us to be grateful and it spiralled from there. See I told you she was awesome didn’t I?!
We miss you Ali, you were and are ace. thank bloody god for social media where we can all still talk to you and see your smile! Here’s to your anniversary, so sorry you aren’t here in body but are in soul, take care beautiful xx
Cynthia Spencer Hospice are a fantastic local chairty that really helped Ali and her family, if you’d like to donate then click here