Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The good, the bad and the mid-mid life crisis

It's 5am and I'm typing this post up in a note on my iPad. The sun is shining and the birds are singing and for the first time in a long time I feel peaceful. Today's post probably won't be a very cheery one or a groundbreaking journalistic piece but it will be personal and from the very bottom of my heart. I would be lying if I said that this has been a good year for me. I haven't posted anything about my personal life in quite some time for the simple reason that it's been far too painful and I'd like to summarise quickly why that is. I don't want anyone to think for a second that this is my big sob story or a way of getting people to feel sorry for me, it's simply something I want to get off my chest and as promised my blog will always be about fashion, beauty and perhaps most importantly life. 

On the first of August last year I went to stay with a friend in Liverpool for a routine mad night out round town! As you would expect I got very drunk and had a ball. The next morning I woke up to a disgustingly loud phone ringing. It took me a good few moments, in my hungover state, to realise it was in fact my phone! My amazing friend of 16 years, Annie, was calling which I thought was odd for two reasons; 1-neither of us are phone people and 2-it was 5am! I answered and she told me that my best friend Joseph had been in a car accident, as far as we knew it was nothing serious and he would be okay but to hurry home just in case.

So I gathered all my stuff together, attempted to shower off the hangover (it didn't work) and set off to get a big greasy breakfast. I text my mum to tell her what had happened and she already knew with Joes mum being her best friend (lovingly known as Auntie Julie), she reassured me everything was looking alright. So far we knew the accident was serious and that Joe's girlfriend was in the car with him. We suspected broken legs and arms, maybe even some ribs, Joe was always injuring himself - seriously the boy once broke his arm falling off his skateboard because he thought he saw a kit Kat on the floor!

(me and Joe on holiday as children) 

 The earliest train I managed to get was the 10:20am from Liverpool to Barrow and as I settled into my seat I phoned my mum to ask if she'd heard anything else and I can remember all she said was: "yes" we were quiet for a long time then she said: "he didn't make it" all I could do was laugh, Joe was always a joker and always hurting himself but he was indestructible in my eyes, it all had to be an elaborate joke, but I could hear my mum and family crying in the background and I knew he'd gone. I had to hang up the phone to go throw up in the train toilet.

The friend who had stood by me through thick and thin from the age of four, the boy who had I had shared holidays with, who taught me how to rollerblade and then patched me up when I fell, the one who bought me my prom corsage was gone? It didn't make sense. How cruel that someone so kind had been taken away from the world, from his family? What an injustice the world had served! Like how dare this happen? How could he be gone!? All the terrible people in the world and you took him away!

I don't remember much more of that day, just going to see my friend Katie and going and getting very drunk with all of ours and Joe's friends. That day changed me forever, I lost a lot of faith in the world that day. 

(Katie, Joe and I in happier times, our prom)

When I went back to university in September I struggled to find joy in anything. I don't know if it was because I felt guilty because I was meant to be having fun while my friend was gone or because I was scared of how quickly he'd been taken from me or some other reason but I just couldn't make myself happy. I struggled through days at uni and as they days turned into months I still couldn't bring myself to go back home, I didn't want to get on a train because they reminded me of that day and I couldn't bare to see the devastation that his death had brought on my family. I felt a million worlds away from my friends and I didn't want to talk to anyone because in a way I felt selfish, why should we talk about my issues when we should be talking about how brilliant he was.

This stint finally came to an end just before Christmas I got off the train at Barrow and just collapsed into my mums arms and I cried like a baby. It was the first time since his funeral that I'd truly cried about it and in all honesty it helped! I calmed down and went back to being silent about the subject pretty soon after but I could already feel a slight weight lifting. The real help came in the form of another friend over Christmas, I've known Joshua for about six or seven years and over Christmas I discovered I could talk freely to him about all my worries without him passing any judgement. He was always there when I needed him without fail. With his encouragement I began to truly enjoy myself again and when I returned to uni in January he encouraged me to seek counselling.

(Another one of our many holidays together)

I've had counselling once a week since I went back to uni in Liverpool and I'm currently looking for a new one in Barrow since I'm home for the summer. Talking to someone really helped me to accept what had happened to my friend and look back at memories of him with happiness instead of devastation. It also helped me to deal with so many insecurities and stresses of every day life. In February I began loosing chunks if hair and getting really bad skin due to stress and dealt with self harm, they were some of my darker days, but after many stress counselling sessions that soon cleared up.

It's been a horrific year for me and my loved ones but it's also taught me no matter how bleak everything might look there is always someone there to help you through, you're never alone and sometimes just talking to someone is all it takes to change your life. I can now happily say Joshua is my boyfriend who I love, I feel like I can be close to my family again and I can talk freely to all of my friends now.

(One of the few 'nice' photos of us together at prom)

My friend Joseph Andrews was killed in a collision between his car and a lorry in the early hours of August 2nd 2013, his girlfriend fortunately survived and she is thankfully still very close to the family. We all lost someone we loved dearly that day but I know we'll meet him again someday.

I'd like to say a special thank you to the NWAA, who rescued Joe from his car crash and managed to give him enough time to say goodbye to his dad, but sadly were unable to save him. The NWAA is charity led and your donations could help to save even more lives and give people like Joe more of a fighting chance.

Like I said at the start of this post it's not a sob story or for attention, I just wanted to raise awareness and finally fill you all in on exactly what has happened over this last year. Hopefully it will have raised some awareness and perhaps help to make a bit of money for Joe's charity.

It's now 6am of June 18 2014 and I'm awaiting my second year university results, I'm extremely nervous about them and I feel a bit sick if I'm honest! I'm not sure why I chose to write all this now, perhaps because this is the first time in a year I've been worried about something normal people my age worry about and I felt a bit braver, I don't know.

(The prom corsages)

The final thing I'd like to say is; Joe, it's been nearly year and it still feels like I'm going to bump into you in town, or get a text telling me about one of your crazy adventures, I miss our times together so, so much. I know you'd want us all to be happy, it's hard, but we're all trying for you and even though you had to leave it early, this party isn't over yet.

"Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light." - Dumbledore always knows best.


  1. I'm so sorry to read this. It sounds like Joe meant a lot to a lot of people and I'm sure he'd be pleased you're doing better now and that you're raising money for a great cause. Good luck with the marathon and your results.

  2. I have no words - your post really moved me. You could feel the love pouring through the words. We all have different ways to grieve but remember at some point you will have had a conversation where Joseph said where he saw your future and I'm sure he would want you to be happy.

    When I said I had no words the comment just flowed. Wow.

    Take care,


    1. Thank you so much. Spontaneity is best sometimes, your words are very much appreciated!

      Thanks Stephen x

  3. So sorry to hear about this hun, I'm always here if you need to talk xo

  4. Sorry to hear it Alice it sounds like he meant a lot to you. Your post really moved me <3 hope you're doing better now xx

    1. Thank you it's much appreciated, I'm managing thank you xx

  5. Oh Alice this is so moving! I lost my friend in Afghanistan a while back, things are never the same but it gets easier I promise.


    1. I'm sorry to hear that Daniel. Thanks for your support xx

  6. This is so sad! Such a shame my thoughts are with you and your family xxx


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