Yesterday (Nov 10th) we received the terrible news which we had all been dreading. The wonderful Ellen has lost her battle against this horrible, evil, brutal disease. She had recovered fully from Breast Cancer shortly after I met her for the first time, where she came all the way to Stratford to see me ‘perform’ with the Reduced Shakespeare Company.
We had been online friends for a long time before that, she even held one of the first ‘Sketchbook Clubs’ at her children’s School. She was always so incredibly supportive and encouraging. Commenting, sharing and endorsing my posts and news.
It’s funny how much you feel you know someone and like someone even before you meet.
We kept in touch after last September and exchanged emails and messages, I hoped that we would meet more often and that I would get to know her family more, as I so enjoyed meeting them in Stratford.
Then, a bombshell, Ellen’s cancer had returned. In a frighteningly short amount of time, the news went from bad to worse and she posted a ‘statement’ telling us that she did not have long to live.
I was beyond honoured that she chose to come to my All Day Sketchbook Club a few weeks ago. We spent such a fun, relaxing day, drawing and painting and laughing and chatting. It was impossible to comprehend that she may not have had long…
But here’s the extraordinary bit. The really really astonishing bit, the bit where she would say “I had no choice”, or “I am not being brave at all” or “anyone would do the same”, well, I’m not so sure Ellen.
I am pretty convinced that the last few weeks of your extraordinary life were pretty exceptional.
Ellen has, in all honestly, changed lives. She has made us, no, insisted on us ENJOYING our lives. Every day. Every second. We are beyond fortunate and immensely privileged to be here.
Below are the words of Ellen, the very very wise words. Words that I hope we will all adhere to…
“Please go and enjoy today. Grab every f**king second of it. Live it for yourself. Live it fully. Have no stupid regrets. I have none. I have lived a life of love and privilege and even when I’ve been at my lowest and depressed I still had it good compared to many. I made some tough decisions in my life, especially since my initial cancer diagnosis, they helped open my eyes and heart, don’t wait to make those decisions, some I should have done years ago, hindsight is a wonderful but totally useless thing though. I’m ok with that. Clearly wasn’t to be before. But now they’re done I know it was right. Surround yourself with the people who love you not judge you, be proud of your actions and always remember just how bad life is, it’s no one’s fault, but your actions can help improve it. Live a life that you can be proud of, not of the big stuff, but the every day little stuff. Be kind. Because it’ll always come back to you.”
“Go on that holiday, learn sign language, draw a cat, ditch the d*ck heads, spend time with your chosen ones, your chosen family, your favourite family. And just really enjoy every minute.”
So, just for Ellen, here is a very special #Sketchbookclub
She urged us to “Draw a Cat” (which made me really laugh) so I have put together a transfer sheet and instructions, it doesn’t include a video this time as I wanted to get this out quickly, so it is only £2.50 but EVERY penny will go to Cancer Research.
I hope you enjoy drawing your cats, she would be delighted that you’re trying something new and enjoying the moment.
#DrawACatforEllen (Link here)