I always admired the fact that whilst she committed her life to heading up Communications for huge companies; Pip was an incredibly private person herself. I want to write about how vital her life was and how keenly I, and the world, will feel her loss. But I also want to respect that she was never someone to share her life online or let too many people into the nooks and crannies.
Pip passed away on Sunday and I find myself in that bewildering stage of grief where it feels impossible to accept. My first reaction is to want to creating something, anything, and get it out there. I can feel Pip shaking her head and eye-rolling, as her response would be entirely the opposite.
For a period of time Pip and I sat and worked so closely, that people started referring to us as ‘Bip’. We would still exclusively call each other that; long after we had both moved to opposite coasts of America and our desks were thousands of miles apart.
There are threads throughout our friendship. In London, our office was next door to the famous department store Liberty. We would spend far too many lunch breaks just walking the floors, talking and spending money we didn’t have in the high-end chocolate section. It has meant that I forever associate Liberty with Pip. In 2016, when Pip told me that she had cancer, I was on a flight to New York within days. I had some time to spare before visiting hours began and found myself wandering up and down Broadway; where something in the Uniqlo window caught my eye. It was the first day of a partnership with Liberty; and their iconic floral prints and patterns flooded the shop. I picked up two matching tee-shirts for ‘Bip’.
Two years later and I’d randomly dug my twin-tee-shirt out of the depths of my wardrobe, when faced with an unseasonably warm winter day. And I was wearing it when I heard the news that Pip had died. I don’t know why I want to share this, or why I clutch to the fact that it must have some meaning. I suppose right now it doesn’t feel that there is anything to clutch to amongst the pain and the sadness and the anger, but this is something that’s none of those things.
Pip was the most fiercely loyal person. I feel like that phrase gets used a lot; but loyalty is something shown through actions rather than words and this is a woman who kept our friendship unwavering when I was in South America and she was in London. When I was in London and she was… in New York. And finally, when I was in Los Angeles and she was in London. We circled each other like cats, never managing to settle in the same place, at the same time, again. That’s appropriate though, as Pip’s adoration of all things feline was something you would know within moments of meeting her. Lost kitty souls would always find their way to Pip; even when she lived in a multi-story apartment building with barely any space for herself. I was fortunate to have Pip as a mentor, her passion for PR and her generosity in sharing her knowledge, skills and relationships was inspiring. She had an incredible ability for candor, with kindness. Her laugh was the best on the planet. I am terrified that at some point I won’t be able to conjure up that laugh, the way I can right now. I think it says everything about her that even when deep-down a terrifying road of her illness, less than a month ago she took the time to send me a letter full of praise and words of support to ME. That ability to be relentlessly giving, is the rarest quality and something I hope anyone reading this will attempt to bake into their own daily lives, in honour of someone who made it look effortless.
I wrote a lot of this in a letter that I posted on Wednesday. That letter won’t ever be read by its intended recipient. Instead the letter will probably cause additional pain to those who intercept it, and for that I feel guilty. I hope she knew everything I have written here already and I hope if even one more person knows now, that it was worth sharing this.
This artwork was on the wall next to the hotel I stayed in when visiting Pip in hospital in New York. It felt like a sign then, and even more of one now.
You are so, so loved Pip.