Kay – The beloved guest of honour at the saddest kind of party.

October 23, 2014

I wrote a guest post recently for another site and when they published it, they referred to me as an ‘author’.  This made me feel very proud as I’ve never really written for anybody else and I’ve certainly never referred to myself in that way. Its only recently I’ve been concentrating so much more on this blog through some huge support from friends and my husband, who love my writing and have always encouraged me with it. Plus author sounds so much more awesome than ‘just another mummy blogger’.

Four years ago, my sister died after spending a week on life support following an epileptic fit. It was the hardest time of not just my life but for the rest of my family too. But of course when somebody close to you dies, as hard as it is, you kind of have to get on with it.  Things need sorting and arranging and somebody has to do it. So I was given the job of writing her eulogy.  I hope I did her proud. I just wish with all my heart that I had been brave enough to read it for her.

Today would have been her 30th birthday and although there isn’t a day that goes by when we don’t miss her, it always seems so much harder on special occasions. This weekend we will be having some fireworks, hotdogs, jacket potatoes and all coming together as a family to celebrate her birthday and her memory,  so today, I thought I’d share with you one of the hardest pieces I’ve ever had to write but also one of the things I’m proudest of…

Kay, or Kabbage as she was affectionately known, had only a short life, but it is not to say that it wasn’t a full life.

Kay was born in Croydon, South London, October 23rd 1984. She was the second child of three children her dad Chris had. The family moved to Peterborough in 1985 and two years later Kay started at the local pre-school and quickly began to develop her Nanny Kits creative talents, the kitchen walls would be full of wonderful creations

She was an artistic person. Very creative, but not limited in her media. She always had a brilliant school report for her art work. She could turn her hand to any task, be it canvas painting, nail extensions, building Lego, baking cakes, making new outfits, wall papering and decorating.  The list is endless.

She had an eye for unusual soft furnishings, as I’m sure Glenn will agree.  I’m sure he’ll wonder what on earth he’s to do with the copious amounts of strange looking gargoyle things and giant statues.

Kay was famous for her tea drinking.  The world could instantly be made better with a good old cuppa tea and a warm snug pair of slippers. (of which she had several) She was definitely one for her creature comforts. 
Crashed your bike…? That’s alright, have a cup of tea.
Lost your purse with all your money and cards in…? Don’t panic, Have a cup of tea.
You’re house has just collapsed and you have nowhere to go…? Ah a nice cup of tea will make it all better.

She was happy. Always singing. Her music taste varied massively from Lady Gaga to Madonna to UB40 to Dolly Parton. In fact I have my suspicions that she was a bit of a closet cowgirl.

Every Christmas  she would go along to the carol concert at Thorpe Hall and sing enthusiastically for her Grandad. With her mouth open wide like the images you see of choir boys when they sing. She loved him very much, and so she always requested his favourite song for everyone to sing along to.
Her Christmas tree was always beautifully decorated. Everything evenly spaced, equal amounts of each ornament and it was never finished until it was perfect. She’d probably have at least 4 cups of tea whilst decorating it. Oh, did I mention she liked a good cup of tea…?

She was helpful. She’d help anyone. Her work colleagues, her customers, her Nan (who she visited regularly.) She helped me wallpaper my bedroom.  She even taught Liam how to do it too. She helped me pick out outfits for any occasion, which most of the time ended up being her clothes.

As sisters, we had our fights. And with Kay’s big personality, she usually won. I’m sure that all of you here today will have your own favourite stories and memories about my sister.

Kay was always a friend as well as a daughter to our mum. There was the time Mum remembers when Gary went of to work as usual, and as soon as he had gone, her and Kay jumped out of bed, moved all the furniture down stairs and painted the whole room. They put the furniture back in the same place, turned off the lights and put the TV on.

When Gary returned from work he sat in the room for a whole ten minutes before deciding there was something different, He put the light on and looked around the room.  “Who helped you do this then?”  Mum replied “Errrrm Kay”.  “Well I might have guessed” Gary laughed.
Kay had chosen a West Ham shade of blue. She knew how to get round him.

Later when Kay bought her own home with Glenn he would often go of to Watch Arsenal play with his mum Joy and dad Tom, he would return later to find a room newly decorated, a new painting on the wall or an over sized ugly ornament placed some where you couldn’t miss it

Kay liked to tease so it was a great delight to her when she got a younger brother and sister Olivia and Ethan, whom she would enjoy beating at games and creating wonderful things with their Lego.

She was kind to them too. She would come in and shout “kids look what I got ya..” Sometimes it would be a present, sometimes a big hug and sloppy kiss and they would run and hide.

Kay was proud to be an aunt to her niece Demi and nephew Caleb.

Sarah, Demi’s mum was always delighted when Kay came round to entertain Demi, keeping her amused for hours by taking her toys and completing her DS games. They both had Epilepsy and called it their wobble. They would pull faces at each other describing their wobble and Demi would lay on the floor and laugh about it.

Kay was also a big sister to Holly and Christopher. Always sharing Christopher’s love of jokes and of course getting them to make the tea “that’s what you have younger brother and sisters for ” she would say.

As sisters we would sometimes bicker. That’s what sisters do! The fight I remember most was while we were younger. I was sat at the kitchen table doing my homework and had made a mistake so I borrowed her tip-ex. This was a mistake in itself because I hadn’t asked her. And as we all know, you cant borrow something of Kay’s without asking or doing some kind of trade or deal. But instead of saying anything, she got my rubber out of my pencil case and cut it into bits. Tiny little unusable bits. This carried on for the next few days with both of us trying to get one up on each other. Even to the point where she poured a bottle of conditioner into my new black boots. If something had annoyed her, you would know about it. It eventually ended with lots of hair pulling and kicking in the hall way, both of us calling mum and blaming the the other, and then after an hour or so, once she felt she’d made her point, and I’d suffered enough, we were friends again. I always laugh when I remember that story and I’m sure there will be many times for all of us when she’ll just pop in to our thoughts and we’ll find ourselves giggling at memories of her.
The way she used to get so excited with simple things. Or how proud she’d be after every project she finished, every painting she made.
The way she’d watch the same film over and over and over again until she knew it word for word. How enthusiastically she sang every song, and carry on even if she got the words wrong. I think she got that from mum.

Kay was a unique person – and she will live on in every one of us who ever knew her, partly because she achieved so very much in such a short time, but mostly just because she was Kay. As a sister, daughter, granddaughter, fiancé’, aunt and friend goes, she really was pretty special.

Kay – The beloved guest of honour at the saddest kind of party.


Happy birthday my dear, sweet, darling, little sister. I thought about sitting with you and counting down to midnight to help you celebrate what would have been your 30th birthday. I/we all miss you so very much. It makes me sad when I think that Dexter will never get to have you spoil him and play with him and teach him naughty, funny things. You were a fantastic auntie to Demi and also to Caleb for the short time you knew him. If I’m honest, I’m a bit jealous that my kids wont have that from you.

I hope you enjoy the fireworks we’re going to have for you on Saturday. We’ll send them up high for you to see from wherever you are.

Loving and missing you always,

Your big sis xxxx

* * * * *

Linking up with PRIDE at CircusMums

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  • Reply Julie October 23, 2014 at 7:20 am

    Beautiful words Lil. Straight from the heart. Your sister may be gone but her memories will be here forever. X

    • Reply Leslie Rickerby October 23, 2014 at 7:34 am

      Thanks Julie xxx

  • Reply Sihan Faustina Yang October 23, 2014 at 6:50 am

    I am very touched. Beautifully written. I feel your love, and how much you miss her. xxx

    • Reply Leslie Rickerby October 23, 2014 at 6:52 am

      Thanks so much Sihan xx

  • Reply Tinuke May 21, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Leslie, thank you so much for sharing this post on #PRIDElinky I feel so touched that you have shared such a personal story.
    Your sister sounds like she was an absolute star and so very much adored by many. I only hope that people will be able to say half as many lovely things as you said about Kay.

    • Reply Leslie Rickerby May 21, 2015 at 2:06 pm

      Aww thanks, thats a sweet comment. As with all family we had our moments but over all she was great. x Thanks for reading

  • Reply Rachael May 28, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    What a touching tribute to your sister. Those special occasions can be so hard but it sounds like you marked what would have been her 30th in a very special way.

    • Reply Leslie Rickerby May 28, 2015 at 11:37 pm

      Thank you. we managed to get through it with no tears too so we did good. She would’ve loved it. Well, perhaps she would’ve like more tea haha

  • Reply Amber November 29, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    This is the most beautiful tribute and makes me wish that I had known your lovely sister. Sending a hug. xx

    • Reply Leslie Rickerby November 29, 2017 at 7:43 pm

      Thank you, Amber. That means a lot xx

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