i.m. Annie Beddow

People do not die in the right order. I never had any faith that they would; I never thought about it very much when I was younger. Now I think about it more than is really healthy.

Annie Beddow – I knew her as Ann, and I don’t quite know why, but I’ll stick with Annie here – who died last week, was my friend and lover in 1994. It wasn’t ever a grand relationship which was going places, and it was, in pretty nearly every sense, an amicable one. We were both at a low-ish ebb at the time, and we helped each other out: she helped me, at any rate. I may not have been much use to her. When the relationship unpicked itself, we saw each other from time to time, bumping into each other in corridors, leaning up against the wall, and she gave me a friendly dose of irony, which was her forte.

She was exceptionally bright, generous with her thoughts and feelings, and at the time – as she told me – I was ‘better than nothing’. I’ve been called a lot worse. We met in strange pubs twice a week and bought each other drinks and played cribbage, at which she was a star. You only had to look at the books she was reading to see that she was always on a quiet quest to push herself further. Not everyone saw her sensitive side at the time, and that was a pity. But they knew her caustic honesty.

Absurdly, I sold her a car, a banger. I wrote a couple of poems she inspired, and which were published; she returned the compliment, although I didn’t see what she’d written until a few months ago. It is hard to say goodbye to someone with whom you’re no longer really in touch. ‘I have no unfinished conversations,’ she wrote. ‘Remember me as a fragment.’

I couldn’t even tell you exactly how old she was: younger than me, anyway. She was settled in herself, married all too briefly last year, did not quite make a first anniversary. You might say I’m not qualified to write about her, but yes, I’ll remember her, and not, as she self-deprecatingly wrote, as a fragment: unless a fragment can be said to be luminous. I learned a lot from her when I needed to learn a lot about the world. I had a lot to thank her for.

Mutual friends have told me how she handled her last few months, which she had been told would be short. She said she had made her peace with everyone, and she lived every day to its limit. She fended pity off. And that was Annie, that was Ann: brave and determined. But far too young.

Annie Beddow, 1994

Annie Beddow, 1994

Advertisements

3 Responses to i.m. Annie Beddow

  1. Sophie Keate says:

    Hi, I’m sorry to trouble you, I think what you have written here is great, It certainly touches what I know about Annie.
    I was a student of hers, she always went out of her way to help me and I felt this strong trust and closeness to her. I have only just arrived back into the country being away for 8 months traveling, Annie during this time emailed me and we were to meet up for a big catch up when I got back, so to go and email her on facebook and read that I missed my chance is very sad.

    I don’t know how to go about finding out her funeral date, or even if I may have missed that, do you think you could help?

  2. Emma Barton says:

    This is really sad news. My mum just told me today. Annie was my Communications Tutor at Exeter College. She was by far the best most inspiring tutor i had.

    I loved going to her classes, she always had something interesting to say and made communications as interesting as she could.

    she will be sorely missed.

  3. Sam says:

    Like those above Annie was a lecturer of mine, her teachings and anecdotes where always inspiring and still live with me. Thank you Annie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: