Textling #99

A tribute to

Mag Friel
10 October 1953 – 31 December 2017


We never cooked a meal together, linked arms, kicked autumn leaves on Peckham’s streets; never walked along the Seine, crossed Brooklyn Bridge, took train, bus, boat wherever; never dipped toes into the freezing sea in January or any other month; never talked all night, never cried together, although we often felt we might; never heard each other laugh, though laugh we did, out loud, almost in unison. At our best we made up stories, travelled North, South, East, West (to Ambridge too), sent messages from bedstead, sofa, blanket on the floor; shared desperate times, hers always so much worse than mine, and small delights, until the short supply of hope ran out and there was naught, zilch, nothing left for Mag but the brute force of M.E. in its severest form – fatigue that totally incapacitates and isolates, and leaves the sufferer with increasingly uncontainable symptoms and atrocious physical pain 24/7, in a room with curtains permanently closed.

For years Mag lived life on the point of a needle.

She took her life on 31 December 2017.




10 thoughts on “Textling #99

  1. So very very sorry. What a loss. Good to hear from you again, though. Was just about to contact you to hear how you are doing.  Big hug,  Silvia 

    Von meinem Samsung Galaxy Smartphone gesendet.


  2. aww Marjojo, I keep thinking about you and the friendship you both shared. Mag sounds like an incredible person. The date haunts me so much.


    1. I read your tribute to Mag a few weeks back. I have thought about her often & tried to imagine what she went through. An extrodinary challenge if you can call it that. Absolutely mind boggling.
      Yes & the date struck me too as pertinent. She does sound like an amazing person. It was great you made this tribute to her so even though she was so shut off her life has been shared. I felt I knew her a little from reading the tribute & was touched by it. I imagine her now totally free & happy.
      I too was wondering how you were. Good to hear from you again. I think your tribute was beautiful.
      Hope things are well with you Marion. Helen Mac (as you know a few Helen’s 🙂


      1. Thank you for your kind words, Helen. Mag was amazing. So glad I managed to convey some of that. Truth is, I almost wanted to write her back to life. Doesn’t work of course, but I tried. Miss her, more quietly now, but no less.
        And how are you, Helen Mac?


  3. Writing Mag back to life, I like the sound of that.

    How am I?
    In bed 😉
    After doing the housework 🙂
    Activity, rest, activity, rest…

    Compared to mag I have it very, very, very, very easy. I estimate myself to have 60% of a normal person’s energy level. Been like that last 23 years, before that much worse for 2 or 3 years.
    I take much inspiration from your work & approach – how you creatively use your resources & are incredibly dynamic with what you have. I try to do that much more now instead of spending time & energy being frustrated – trying to be normal. This blog has also helped me understand where I’ve been these last 26 years. I’ve try to deny it time & again! Then I read your blog & go I remember that & that & feeling like that!
    I live & work in edinburgh (may have said this all before sorry if repeating myself!) I’m self employed – best way I can manage energy & work.
    I live alone so going out & being with people is important – contingent on energy. Try as I might I still spend a heck of a lot of time on my own!
    Today is a rest/ housework day. Rest does bring in energy now. I galvanise myself for the to do list & my little goals & dreams.

    How are you?


    1. Thanks so much for writing, Helen. Amazing to me that my writing might have an effect on someone. Means a lot to me that you said so. Denial part of my life too, just harder to maintain when you’re poorly. And oh, how I understand wanting to be normal, and if that’s not possible, to at least seem so. Feels like acceptance has to be learned every day anew. By which I don’t mean resignation, more something on the lines of ‘this is how I am now, gotta deal with it’. Or, when I’m at my most fatigued, and cannot budge, or see much, or hear, allowing myself to just be (without judgment). Bloody hard.
      I’ve been struggling quite a bit this year. Has a lot to do with losing Mag, but also with the fact that I’m not improving. Find that hardest in summer, when the days are long and people spend time outside. Lucky though that I’ve got a garden and on better days can make it there through the kitchen door and lie on my recliner.
      Will probably not post here for a while as I’ve started a new project (see Textling 106). You said you’re self-employed – are you doing something you love?
      Wish you a nice summer and that you can make the most of your 60 %. Mxx


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