I trained for and completed the London Marathon in 2007 raising money for Whizz Kidz. Iain and I decided to apply on a crazy whim and it took a year of gradual training to become a sort-of runner. My finishing time wasn't earth shattering at 5:52:34 and I was finishing the race with the loonies dressed as slices of pizza and a cohort of elderly people, I was proud however - the emotional rollercoaster experience and physical pain made it the hardest thing I had ever done...

... until now. I am Emily's big sister and I am heartbroken. The period from April 2012 has been the hardest of my life and I wrestle daily with my emotions to keep it all together and trust that my mind and body somehow knows what to do on this crazy unknowable grieving journey. 

I find it as hard to summarise what Emily meant to me now as I did when Iain helped me write this poem for her funeral in May so I hope this will suffice to tell you a little of her personality and the kind of silliness we shared together.

My Sister by Alison 33 1/2 with help from Iain 37

We are all proud of your achievements, your certificates, your drive,
But they were only a part of what made you alive. 

Essential to me are our shared memories which I'll treasure hereafter,
Of the life which we shared, with its soundtrack of laughter. 

Remember that time when you put mum in a spin;

When she found you eating rhubarb leaves at the Apple Tree Inn? 

The 'Funhouse' hi-five when we crossed over for our bath,
I still do it now and it always makes me laugh. 

I can clearly still hear you as you sat in your room,
Driving me mad while you practiced bassoon. 

Come to think of it, it was a lot like that long droning hum,
That you made when you concentrated, trying to get something done. 

The way that you chose to cut pizza with scissors
And then for Christmas you gave me my own set of ‘Pizzers’ 

Remember when our first culinary venture went a bit wrong;
For some reason Mrs Squigglebottom's mud pies just didn’t catch on. 

Far more successful was the McGuiver Dance!
Which we practiced and practiced at every chance
In the end our dancing careers were cut short by the lawn, 
Because we'd worn out the grass and dad was forlorn,

There were so many fab things that we made up together:
The Kris Akabusi and go faster songs defy any measure.

I'm now the guardian of the Spleeger's identity,
Well Iain knows too, but he's sworn to secrecy;

Just as he is with the 5p 10p, 5p 10p, 5p 10p, mystery,
And nobody really knows what chicabockamarlay is meant to be.

There are other things that I just don't know, and I'm not being mean
When I wonder why your handwriting looked like it was done by machine,

Remember that time on holiday when we were out on a walk,
We were exploring Lyme Regis and you were caught short,
You'd never wee'd in a field and you were filled with the fear;
You were such a gentle child, oh no wait, that was last year.

Your silliness, and fun was one of your greatest traits,
And for me that is why we were best sisterly mates.

I am sad but still lifted by your fun and your boundless affection
And thinking how embarrassed you would be with all this attention

I will keep you alive as a streak of joy in my heart,
And by just doing that we will never be apart.

I am one of many devastated people in Emily's world. I was totally blown away by the hundreds of people paying their respects at her funeral, some of whom I knew, but many I didn't. Emily with her acute modesty I hope understood on some level how liked, loved and respected she was and how many people she had inspired and what a lasting difference she had made in her profession because these are things everyone aspires to in life. It therefore seems fitting that I overcame my 'never again' opinion of marathon-running and run London 2013 as Emily would have done. I knew I was capable of finishing a marathon however this time I was determined to do a proper job as a tribute to her. Emily never gave up on anything.
The mental image that kept me going when I was dragging myself out of bed so many times to run in the half-light of the early mornings, was crossing that finish line holding Teddy aloft for Emily, my superlative little sister.

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