Show someone you love them this Christmas

A lovely, lovely lady who I once worked with gave me one of the best gifts I've ever received when I left the council - a little bag of happiness.

Sometimes when I'm feeling sad I still dig out the little bag and think of Fran and the love behind her gift. 

Fran and I worked together, just the two of us, for a number of months and, despite my initial intrepidation about working with her, we got on like a house on fire. I'd share my tales of my scandalous weekends, we'd swap animal tales, she'd tell me about her son and granddaughter, we'd talk about tv, and we'd laugh (lots!) 

Fran would give me so much good advice - whether it be about my love life, personal life or professional life. I'll never forget how happy she was when I told her that Tom and I were engaged. 

Today I learned that Fran passed away recently and I was so sad. 

As well as my little bag of happiness, when I left the council Fran also got me a lovely little notebook and a posh Parker pen. The notebook, which I keep on my desk to this day, said on the front 'Wherever you go, go with all your heart'. Every day I look at that notebook and remember Fran telling me to always follow my dreams. 

I never thought I'd be such good friends with someone 42 years older than myself, but me and Fran got on like a house on fire. 

Her passing has reminded me to tell your friends, whether you speak to them regularly or not, that you love them. I'm guilty of being terrible at keeping in touch with people sometimes, as I'm sure we all are. 

Whether it be a group whatsapp message, a note in a Christmas card, or a quick text - Christmas is the time we all make a concerted effort to reach out to our friends that we've not spoken to in a few too many months. 

Fran and I would regularly keep in touch over email. 'Littleweed', as she was known by her friend, would send me updates on her and her health, her family, and her beloved dogs. I've not spoken to her for a few months and was shocked to hear she had passed away. 

It's with that in mind that I am going to set my first New Years resolution - to keep in touch with friends who I don't see all the time better. 

If you're reading this and can relate to some of the points I've raised, send someone you've not spoken to for a while a message. Just a 'hi, how you doing?' Or a 'haven't spoken to you for a while, how's things?' Christmas is about reaching out to those we love and those we've lost touch with. 

Fran will never know how much I appreciated that little bag of happiness she bought me. And I'll forever keep her wise words close to my heart. 

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