Whitstable People: Sandie Back

Sandra Back

Date of Birth : 10/04/1953

Date of Death : 28/10/2010

Age : 57 years


I want to use this opportunity to say goodbye to my friend Sandie Back, who died after a long struggle with cancer.

I wasn’t able to attend her funeral as I was on holiday at the time, so I missed dancing along behind the pink hearse. What a spectacular way to go: exactly as Sandie would have wished it! No doubt her friends and family celebrated her life with joyous abandon at the Cricket Club later.

I was privileged to have seen her only a few weeks before she died. She was in a wheelchair and was looking very thin and wasted, but when I asked how she was her eyes sparkled. “I’m fine,” she said, preferring to ask after my health than to dwell on her own fragile state.

We kissed goodbye, and that was the last time I ever saw her.

I knew her for over 25 years. We were never that close, but our occasional conversations were always studded with affection. She was such an inclusive person. She always made me feel like I was her particular friend.

Sandie was the true heart of Whitstable.

It’s that sparkle in her eye I will remember the most. There was such fierce presence there, such life, it’s almost impossible to imagine that she isn’t still around in some form. Even as her body was being taken away from her, that light in her eyes seemed to blaze with ever greater intensity.


Another friend of mine lost her father recently so I’ve been thinking a lot about mortality.

What I’ve decided is that it is our mortality which defines our love. It is the certainty of loss that gives our relationships their special poignancy. If there are immortal beings in the universe - and I wouldn’t like to say either way - then they would know less than we do, they would be less wise, because they would never know the loss of someone they cared about deeply.

And then I had a strange and wonderful thought. Maybe we are all immortal beings, made mortal in order to learn the secrets of love.

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Comments 4 comments

diogenes 6 years ago

Voted up...Bob

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Whitstable Views 6 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Cheers Bob. I can always rely on you.

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oztvc 6 years ago from Whitstable

Nice piece on sandy chris. I too had a similar relationship with her. Not that close but I knew her for over 20 years. Met her through the old Labour Club. Always positive to me, always had time for me. I'm going to miss her.

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Whitstable Views 6 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

I agree Paul. She always had time for everyone. I will miss her too.

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    Whitstable Views84 Followers
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    CJ Stone is an author and columnist. He appears regularly in the British press. Currently he has a column in the Whitstable Gazette.

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