What's more, she taught herself how to bellydance, made all of her own costumes, taught other people, and set up her own business delivering bellygrams!!!! She was a single mother with two kids, working somewhere and doing all of this to try and make ends meet. I looked through the things she left me and I have all of the jewellery she made and bought (the earrings! headpieces! neckpieces! sterling silver!) as well as all of the costumes she made, including the bras, belts, skirts, and veils, and the leftover embellishments. I also have the books she used to teach herself, the books on costume design, *and* all of her music. I was so excited when I looked through it! It was like finding the perfect pair of shoes (some of you have seen that reaction and you know how obvious it is).
Ok, all of this stuff is from the late 70s and early 80s (and the music is on cassettes), but in a way that makes it even more valuable and interesting. It's not just bellydancing costumes and information passed from one bellydancer to another - it's a piece of history, both hers and the bellydancing community.
I wish I had known how much bellydancing she had done - I knew that she had bellydanced but not that she had done everything else - and I'm sad that I didn't ask more about it. I wish I had told her how much I admired her.
Tonight I went out with a group of people for dinner to celebrate my friend's life. We toasted her and conducted ourselves in the fashion of which she would have approved: lots of laughter, food, wine (for those who drink it), and yummy desserts. At least we could give her this.