I was in the middle of rewatching the season one finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer when I heard the news about Clare. I had been told via Facebook that her condition had deteriorated and there wasn't long to go, but somehow it was still a shock to hear that she'd passed away. Her battle with cancer had been long, brave, and inspiring, and if cancer could be beaten by will alone, Clare would have been well years ago. Despite doctors telling her early on that there wasn't that much that could be done, Clare did it all anyway.
I met Clare through Cassie when I was living in Edinburgh. And through Clare I met Olivia, and I grew to believe that the two of them led a charmed little life, in their tiny upstairs flat off the Royal Mile. We got to share some of the best that Edinburgh had to offer, and I will cherish those memories (even going to the parody of the Eurovision Song Contest). Clare always struck me as knowing exactly who she was, what she wanted to do, and who she wanted to spend her time with. She was fiercely individual but would do anything for her friends.
One thing that Facebook is both good and bad at is showing you your 'friendships'. My contact with Clare had been sporadic over the last few years, and I realised I didn't have a photo of the two of us together. I go through phases where I don't take many photos or write many blog/journal posts, and times like this make me really regret it. I know that there was no lack of love, though.
After talking things through with David for a while after he told me the news, I cried. It's such an odd feeling of loss, to know that someone who was already most of the way around the world from me is not even there any more. I say goodbye to so many of my friends, not knowing when I will see them again, but always thinking that there will be a next time. Sometimes there isn't.
I haven't been able to watch the rest of that Buffy episode. In the finale, she accepts her own death, and embraces it for the sake of her loved ones and the world in general. Clare was that brave. She won't come back to save the world like Buffy did, but she did change a lot of lives in her short time here.
I'll miss you so much, Clare, but you will continue to inspire me for a long time to come. I hope that you are sitting in the sun in the big Spiegel Garden in the sky. x