Friendship should be celebrated – and Karen and Juliet know the definition of a good friend. There have been there for each other through the good times and the bad and their friendship is one that’ll have you laughing and crying all at the same time. As seen here in Essentials, these girls make me proud!
Karen helped her new friend through loss and finding love again. So when the tables turned, Karen knew Juliet was the one person who’d understand her…
I remember my boss announcing that the new girl wouldn’t be starting work for a few weeks because her partner had just died. When Juliet, now 34, arrived at the office a few weeks later, I just felt so sorry for her. Everyone was staring, no one knew what to say. So I marched up to her. ‘I’m always here if you want to talk.’
Juliet and Mike, then 24, had been together nearly three years. The night before she was supposed to start her new job, he’d had a heart attack in his sleep and died, lying next to her. I’d never lost anyone I loved before, but I tried to be there for Juliet. We’d have dinner after work and talk for hours. She was heart broken. I’d invite Juliet to come round my house and she got to know Chris, my boyfriend. When we married in 2003, Juliet came to our wedding.
A year later, Juliet felt ready to start dating again and met Toby, 38. ‘I feel like I’m cheating on Mike,’ she wept, her head in a mess. I told her Mike wouldn’t have wanted her to be single forever. Slowly, Juliet got used to the idea and fell in love with Toby.
For a while, we were both happy. Juliet had found love again with Toby and when there were times she still mourned for Mike, I was there for her. And I was happy with Chris, and our son Adam, then two. Juliet had become my best friend and although we’d been through a lot, we knew how to have fun too.
Then, in 2005, Chris was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Within a year, he was dead. Juliet was there for me just as I’d been there for her. I felt like no one in the world would know what I was going through quite like Juliet.
She’d been through it all herself. After the funeral, when other friends went back to their lives, it was Juliet who knew that anniversaries and birthdays never get easier. It was Juliet who brought me trays of food and made sure I was eating. I got through it, with Juliet by my side.
And in 2007, I met Sean. Just like Juliet, my heart was pulled in two directions. I wanted to move on and find happiness again, but I felt like I was cheating on Chris. Juliet reminded me what I had said to her. ‘Chris would want you to be happy,’ she said. ‘You are not betraying your love for Chris by loving again.’ She was right – we both were.
In 2008, Juliet married Toby and I was her bridesmaid, my son Adam was her pageboy. And in July last year, I married Sean.
Because it was my second marriage, I didn’t want a big day, so I didn’t have any bridesmaids. But Juliet was my unofficial bridesmaid – she organised my hen do and helped me plan the day.
It’s hard for me to tell Sean I’m missing Chris, just as it’s hard for Juliet to admit to Toby that she misses Mike. But that’s why we are there for each other. It’s okay for us to admit that to each other. We both lost the love of our lives.
When Juliet and I meet up we always end up in tears… of laughter. We’ve both been through a lot, but we make each other laugh. Together, we find the strength to carry on.