A long time ago, nearly 25 years to be more precise, I was mucking around at the Strathalbyn Swimming Pool, doing backflips off the diving blocks, when a girl I had never seen before asked me to show her how. It turned out she was new to the town. From that day on we were friends. To me she will always be that Sofie, those times are the ones I will forever hold on to. She passed away recently, and it has left a whole in me that will remain forever.
Sofie or Sophie or Sophy (depending on her mood) was my ‘sister’. We were so alike and so different. I was the nerdy square bear, and she was the rebellious rule breaker. But we were best friends. We helped each other through some harrowing times. She is the only person who truly knows what I experienced as a child, she was the one who saw it and experienced it with me, even after everyone else had turned away.
As we got older our lives took different paths, but whenever we spoke or got together it was as if no time had passed. I loved her like a sister and her, I. We had each other’s back. I cannot remember us ever having a fight, even though we didnt agree on a lot of things, we just accepted that we were different.
Her world changed in unexpected ways when she had a child at 15, and I can still remember that day clearly. Her son has grow up into an adult now, and I hope he knows how much he was loved, even when it didnt look like it. Years later she had another son, one that I never got a chance to meet, but Sof often spoke of him. We didnt see much of each other as we both got older, our lives diverged further and further over the years…but our friendship remained. She was always my best bud, and every time we communicated there was no doubting the love and the bond.
Some people have heard me tell the story of how ‘Haffina’ came to be. I tell the story of my friend who always called me Niffer, instead of Jennifer. That was Sofie. It was over a Strong Bow that we decided the spelling should be Niffah, and that’s how it stayed. Sof and Niff against the world! When I went to get a yahoo email I couldnt get Niffah, so I turned it around and added an ‘A’… Haffina was born… and it always will be a reminder of my dear friend.
Sofie used to say she wouldnt make it to 21, and when she did, we both said she wouldnt make it to 30..but she did. I wish now we’d said she wouldnt make it to 40, cos then she might still be here.
There are so many things that remind me of her, of the times we spent together, the things we did together. All the fun, and the silly things and the ‘dont tell mum’ things. I will cherish every memory, and I will share them and her with my kids and my friends, because she deserves to be remembered for the friend that she was. She accepted me for me, and I accepted her for her.
Sofie will always be with me, my friend, my sister, forever.
R.I.P. Sofie, you are safe from the demons now.