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Girl's Husband Passes Away And His Best Friend Is Hijacking The Services, So The Internet Has Feelings

Setting up funeral arrangements for a loved one can be like juggling flaming bowling balls. One thing is already hard enough without the added difficulty of the other. On the surface, you need to appear calm for those around you suffering through similar pains, but on the inside all you might want to do is cry. It all leads to the gathered love and reflection from everyone the day of the funeral, which can be a supportive beam everybody leans on. However, when a relative or close family friend begins making the funeral all about them and their issues, it can make a hard day even worse.

Reddit user, u/angrywidow, had an issue regarding her husband who passed away and an old "friend" who just couldn't let go. So she turned to Reddit to ask for help:

My [28F] husband [36M] passed away, and now his "best friend" [33F] is trying to control his services

I'll try to make this brief. My husband, Jonah, passed away unexpectedly a month ago from a stroke. I don't want to get specific about that part, it's the worst pain I've ever felt in my entire life, and I'm still not sure how I'm ever going to move on.

We were married for 5 years, together for 7. The past 2 years we've been trying for a baby, but were just getting to the point of considering IVF when he died.

Jonah had a close friend in high school named Marjorie. Marjorie also ended up going to the same university as he did, and they spent a lot of time together during those college years. Jonah said that he liked Marjorie's company, but never felt anything beyond friendship with her -- which I totally believe.

Jonah dated other women during that period, but told me that several times Marjorie hinted that she wanted him to ask her out. She also "joked" about wanting him to be her "plan B" in case she didn't meet someone and get married by 30.

By the time I'd started dating Jonah, he had moved a couple hours away from his hometown (and Marjorie). Despite this, Marjorie immediately began finding excuses to come to our town and "hang out" -- which usually involved her encouraging us to go drinking, and then her passing out on the couch at Jonah's apartment. I didn't mind her for the most part, but she had a habit of saying things like, "you know you ruined our marriage pact, haha!" and pointing out all the things that she knew about him (like what he took in his coffee, his favorite bands, etc).

Over the course of our relationship, and especially after we got married, Jonah definitely put some distance into his relationship with Marjorie. He confided in me that he felt he had "outgrown her" and that they really had little in common anymore. He stopped responding to her invitations to hang out as often, though he would occasionally call to catch up out of guilt (especially when she would text him or leave messages saying she was "so sad he was ignoring her" and the like).

But now he's gone. I had him cremated, like he wanted. We haven't done the memorial service yet -- it was too hard for me to even imagine the first couple of weeks, and I also wanted to give time for some out-of-state people to make travel plans. The memorial is this weekend.

However, two weeks ago, I received an email from Marjorie -- sent to around sixty people, including Jonah's family -- saying that she was holding a memorial service for Jonah in the town where they grew up (the day before his memorial here). I was completely blown away, seeing as she hadn't mentioned anything to me or even attempted to call. Along with the details, the email said that she was "planning the memorial in light of the fact that no other service had yet been held in his memory, and he deserved to be laid to rest with honor". For the record, she was invited to the memorial which I've been planning, and knew it was happening.

I called her, of course, and told her that while I appreciated her willingness to help with Jonah's goodbye, I was already planning a service for him that would involve all of his family and friends. She immediately went on the defensive, and said that she had "only started to plan a service when she realized I wasn't willing to do it in a timely manner". I told her that the timing wasn't her choice to make, but that if she wanted to have a memorial of some kind, to please just add on the invitation that his "official" memorial was going to be held this weekend. She said fine.

I sent a message to all of Jonah's invited friends/family to make sure that they knew the real service with both of our families was going to be here, and then just washed my hands of the whole thing.

This week I received a message on facebook from Jonah's cousin, saying that Marjorie (who has apparently blocked me on facebook) created an "event" for Jonah's "official" memorial service (her memorial) and invited everyone she possibly could. I've been getting blown up with emails asking which day the memorial is, and where. I'm honestly furious -- I don't have the emotional energy to deal with this.

I ended up putting a post up on my wall, reiterating the date of his service here, and asking people to please share it. Thankfully I think the older members of the family don't use facebook or email very often, so most of them haven't been confused, but a lot of people now think that Marjorie's service is the real one.

I called Marjorie again, asking her to add an addendum to her event saying that his actual memorial was going to be here. She told me that "Jonah would have wanted it this way" and that "if I couldn't appreciate her efforts, I wasn't invited to say goodbye to Jonah." I told her that was fine, seeing as I'd already said goodbye to Jonah when I held him as he died. She hung up.

Apparently she's now spreading information to her mutual friends with Jonah, saying that he was planning on leaving me because I wasn't able to conceive. She also said that we had approached her to carry a baby for us -- all absolute lies. His cousin sent me a screenshot of a text where she said that "Jonah always thought we would have the cutest baby together" and that "AngryWidow doesn't understand how much he wants children".

I'm at a loss as to what to do. I don't care what she says about me, but she's now tarnishing my husband's memory -- especially saying that he wanted to divorce. Jonah would never have left me, and anyone that knows him at all knows that we were committed to each other above all else.

I need to figure out how to tell this woman to f-ck off without encouraging her to spread more lies. And I also want to just forget the whole thing and crawl in bed and never get up again.

Help me, please.

tl;dr: My husband's former "best friend" is trying to plan his entire memorial service and is tarnishing his memory. How do I get her to stop?


Ask For Someone To Step In

Can you deputize another friend or family member to take over Marjorie-handling for you? Someone to text and facebook everyone, set the record straight when she sends out some message, show up to her memorial and talk to people, etc? Basically, someone to shield you from her?

The best way to deal with a Marjorie is to tell people close to you the truth, and let them disseminate it. The people that matter won't believe her.

If nothing else, I think that people will realize that her memorial isn't real when you're not there. That sort of detail sticks out.


Seriously, Find Someone To Handle Marjorie

Do you have any friends or family members who are mean and clever? Could you ask them to take over handling all of the Marjorie bullsh-t?


Draw The Line In The Sand

First off, sorry for your loss. You seriously need to tell this girl to go f-ck herself. Say in no uncertain terms that YOU are his wife, YOU are his family and her actions are disgusting. Call all your family and friends and let them know that YOU, his WIDOW will be conducting this memorial service. She is out of her mind if she thinks that anyone will believe her story about him leaving you.

HE HAD A ZILLION OPPORTUNITIES TO HAVE THAT GIRL AND TURNED DOWN ALL OF THEM AND MARRIED YOU. She sounds mentally unstable, seriously so. I would hire an attorney and threaten to sue her for libel. If someone did this to me, I can't even tell you what I would do. She'd be sorry she ever opened her mouth.


People Who Matter Will Show Up

I'm so sorry for your loss. This is truly tragic. I would think that most people would understand that the memorial is where the wife says it is and where the remains will be buried. Contact the hometown newspaper and do an obituary with the correct information. Don't fool with this meddling woman again. If half the people show up, so what? The memorial is for you and his family; to help you let go. Again, I'm sorry for what you are going thru.


Get The Law Involved

I am not a lawyer but you should contact a lawyer. As the executor of your husband's estate (unless he left someone else in charge as the executor) you are well within your realms to file cease and desists saying that people cannot use his name in ways that you do not approve of. Your husband wasn't famous, but for example, Terry Pratchett's widow could tell websites or book publishers that his name is not allowed to be used unless it is cleared with the executor of his estate.

You are the one who has to protect your husband's name now. If she wants to hold a memorial she can do so but she's not allowed to call it his official memorial service without your say so. This is similar to if she printed something slanderous or libelous about him in the newspaper, you as the executor of his estate would be within your right to send her a cease and desist and sue for any damages.

Have the cousin save a screen shot of her memorial event on Facebook. Save the physical invitation from the memorial service she was planning. Give these to the lawyer. Pay your lawyer out of the estate your husband left you (if he had any life insurance policies, investments, assets that you are selling because you no longer need a second car or need the house you lived in because you don't want to and you don't need that much space anymore). Then tell the lawyer to pursue a civil suit for the damages caused monetarily by her actions, namely the money you're spending on the lawyer to get her to stop.

Most likely you will have to take her to small claims and a mediator but you can get her to stop and get your lawyer fees paid for and maybe even a little more for the emotional distress of having to do this.

Don't confront her. Just call a lawyer first thing Monday morning. You might want to call an estate lawyer.


A Little Bit of Hindsight Advice For Everyone Else

This is just a message to everyone in this thread: Please make sure that you have a will in place.


Guard The Memorial

First, i am so terribly sorry for your loss. I do not have the right words to express how sorry I am.

Second, I became enraged reading this. IDK if you have anyone who can help you stand up to this woman, but if you're in FL and need some help this weekend, it's my weekend off and I'd be more than happy to stand "guard" at your memorial service to make sure this whacko cannot enter. Or even if you need someone to handle other things in regards to her. I have a very mean nurse b-tch face I can put on at a moments notice. I can handle crazy. PM me if I can assist you. I know I'm an internet stranger, but I am so angry and upset for you. You don't need this on top of everything else.

If this escalates, you need to seek legal guidance. Try not to respond to ANY of the crazy she's spewing. Let her make herself look crazy. She doesn't need much help. I promise you that. You keep your head held high. Redirect anyone asking for which memorial to go to, to your own. And if you need help with that, please don't hesitate to ask.

You are a strong, brave women. You can do this. Do not let her effect you. She's nuts. You are his wife, everyone knows that. The more crazy she talks, the more crazy she looks.


Hold Your Head Higher

I must say I've never heard of a weird case like this. When you're trying to provide a dignified memorial, this yapping little runt dog of a woman (regardless of her physical size) is turning it into a circus.

I think the best you can do is to act dignified yourself. You don't have to invite her to your memorial if you don't want, after all she's the one diminishing it. And if someone mentions her to you, just say that she seems very jealous and you are disappointed she is acting like this. Cut her no break, but don't be drawn into it. Be superior. You were and are his wife.

She is the one who wanted him so much she couldn't even let go after he married you, practically a stalker. You should barely deign to notice her.

I am sorry for your loss.


Make A Whole Thing Of It

Publicly announce that this person is trying to make a competing memorial, it is not the 'official' one, won't have his remains, that she is trying to take people away from the real one to attend her's, and this is causing you great emotional distress.


Should The Police Get Involved?

I, like so many others on this post, am straight up pissed off by what this psycho batsh-t crazy woman is doing to you, OP. I don't know you from the next person but if you are in Ohio, feel free to contact me and I will help you any way I can.

Also, I don't think it would hurt to call the police and at least give them a heads up on her psycho behavior. Clearly it is escalating and it will continue to do so, especially if she doesn't get what she wants (attention and acknowledgement from others that somehow her place in Jonah's life was greater than yours). I wouldn't be surprised if she goes batsh-t crazy if the "turn out" at her memorial isn't what she expects. Protect yourself in every way you can... share with those you trust the communications and proof you have about her behavior. And then give her the rope and let her hang herself with it. Crazy can pretend to be normal for only so long.

The more I think about this the more it concerns me... what is she capable of later, after the memorial? Like will she do annual memorials, what will she continue to say to others or do to you? This chick is psychopath of epic proportions. Please protect yourself on all fronts.


Call Everybody One By One

First of all, OP, I am so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what you're going through.

Secondly, I'd like to praise you for the calm and the restraint you've shown so far. You're a much more patient woman than I, especially under the circumstances. As you already know, everything she has done and said so far has been completely uncalled for, and you are in the right.

My suggestion is to reach out personally to as many people as possible and let them know the truth of the matter. It's exhausting, but the way the information flow is going, it might be the best way to get people the real information about where the real memorial will be. You know, the one held by his real wife. I couldn't imagine anyone who really knew/loved him taking her word over yours, and if they do, f-ck 'em. True colors shown.


Reach Out To Those Closest To You Both

I would contact those you know were close to him and tell them that she's being a nut pretty much. How disrespectful of her. She should be working WITH you not making a second memorial because yours isn't good enough.

She really does sound like a psycho making up the baby rumor. WTF?


Follow The List And Be Constructive

I'm so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine the pain you must be in right now.

Marjorie sounds completely f-cking insane and malicious. If I were in your shoes I'd be very tempted to go scorched earth on her a--, but that wouldn't be the most constructive approach here. So here's what I'd do instead:

  • Send an email to all of the guests you've invited to attend the actual memorial service stating, "Just to reiterate, the service will be held at [location] on [date]." Do not mention Marjorie, her lies, or the second service.
  • Contact the funeral home per /u/ThomasBeckett's suggestion and see what can be done to pull the plug on Marjorie's service.
  • Delete and block this woman on all forms of social media, email, your phone, everywhere.
  • UNLESS AND UNTIL somebody comes to you asking about Marjorie's lies, resist the urge to set the record straight. If you try to publicly address her claims on Facebook or elsewhere, it will almost certainly get back to her and she'll be even more fueled by the attention and the knowledge that she's getting under your skin. Cut off her supply by ignoring her.
  • If she crosses the line into character assassination against you, contact legal aid.
  • Content yourself with the knowledge that if any of Jonah's and Marjorie's mutual friends have half a brain, they'll understand she's out of her f-cking mind or at least being outrageously inappropriate.
H/T: Reddit


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One of the youngest women in the UK to have terminal stage four breast cancer has spoken candidly about her wishes to buy the horse of her dreams and get married in a castle "like a fairy tale princess."

Told in March that the breast cancer she was first diagnosed with in 2016 had returned and was now terminal, having spread to her spine, Vicki Turner, 24, of Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, had just one question: "Am I going to die?"

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Shockingly, one of only 31 people under 24 to be diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK – accounting for just 0.056 per cent of the 55,000 annual cases across all age groups, according to Cancer Research – Vicki said doctors told her she could survive for anything from three to 30 years.

Facing an uncertain future, rather than cracking under the pressure, the HR auditor, who has had a double mastectomy, set-up a GoFundMe page, which has already smashed the £10,000 target she set to buy and keep a horse, saying: "Horses have always been my therapy.

"I want a male gelding, maybe a warmblood Hanoverian. I'm going to get him settled at the stable, groom him and give him lots of carrots, and then start having lessons and work towards taking him out.

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"The diagnosis drives me to do things more rapidly. That's why I started my horse fund in March, just after my latest surgery."

She continued: "It's already raised £11,000, which is totally amazing. It makes me feel like I'm being hugged 1,000 times by 1,000 people. It's unbelievable. I truly never expected it to get this far."

But Vicki, whose dream is to marry her compliance engineer fiancé Simon Eastaugh, 25, in 2020 in the magnificent Leeds Castle near Maidstone, Kent, is no stranger to adversity.

She was just three-years-old when she was diagnosed with a Wilms' tumor, a type of kidney cancer, affecting about 70 children under the age of five each year in the UK with a 90 per cent survival rate, according to the NHS.

In September 1998 Vicki had a stage three tumor "the size of a grapefruit" removed along with her right kidney, followed by 19 rounds of radiotherapy, 17 rounds of chemotherapy and 15 blood transfusions over the course of a year.

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Left bald and with a weakened heart, she recalled: "At primary school I was bald as an egg. The kids in my year looked after me, but I remember getting called a boy a lot by older kids, which at that age isn't very fun."

Vicki, whose brother Ali, 21, is a car salesman, had no further dramatic health problems – apart from having her appendix removed at 14 – until she reached 19, when she was put on blood thinners for a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis.

This is a blood clot in the dural venous sinuses, which drain blood from the brain, and was diagnosed following a week of severe migraines.

She said: "I was taking the contraceptive pill at the time, which doctors thought might have caused it."

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"A nurse said to me that I have been unlucky, but I think I've been extremely lucky. I could have died when I had my first cancer, I could have had a stroke when I had my blood clot, but I didn't."

One of the mainstays of Vicki's childhood, through good times and bad, was her love of horses.

She had riding lessons from the age of eight, developing a talent for dressage and winning several competitions as a teenager on a horse called Toby that she rented with a friend.

Then, turning 21 in January 2016, it looked set to be the best year of her life, with her meeting her fiancé in the unlikely setting of her nail technician mum Helen's 'H-themed' fancy dress party, for her 50th birthday, at Hertfordshire's Chipperfield Cricket Club.

Recalling how she was dressed as a Hell's Angel at the 23 July bash, Vicki said: "He plays cricket for that team and was still there with some of his mates getting a bit p****d when we arrived, so they joined the party, although not in fancy dress.

"My mum went over, dressed as Helen of Troy, and interrogated him, asking why he hadn't met me. It was so funny!
"I couldn't have met anyone more perfect for me. He's so positive and he just lifts me up and makes everything fine."

Life was great for the couple until November 2016 when Vicki found a lump in her left breast.

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She continued: "We were getting ready to go out and I'd just had a shower and I remember watching a video that advised women to check our breasts in the shower.

"When I felt mine, I found a lump. I showed Simon and he told me to talk to my mum, which I did."

When Vicki saw her GP she was given an emergency referral to the St Albans City Hospital breast clinic for a biopsy and mammogram.

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A few days later on 17 November she was called back to St Albans and given the devastating news that she had Grade 3 breast cancer.

She recalled: "Mum was with me and while I was totally shocked, I think she'd had her suspicions."

She continued: "Still, we both just cried and cried and cried."

On 8 December 2016 she had a double mastectomy, to stop the cancer from spreading to the other breast – a procedure that is only performed on 50 women under 30 a year in the UK, according to the NHS – and reconstructive surgery.

After her operation at north west London's Royal Free Hospital, Vicki – who has no family history of breast cancer – also had six rounds of chemotherapy and was given hormone repression treatment, to "kill anything floating around."

Speaking about her treatment, she said: "Every time I get taken down to surgery I cry.

"I've been having operations since childhood but I never get used to them. I can't quite get the hang of being brave when it comes to going into surgery.

"But the most difficult ordeal was the chemotherapy. It's the hardest thing that I have ever had to endure. You lose your hair and your confidence."

She continued: "I lost the ability to physically do what I wanted. I got tired going up the stairs and while it saves lives it's a massively destructive path to go down in order to save your life."

Before starting her six-month course of chemotherapy in January 2017, Vicki tried, unsuccessfully to harvest her eggs, with a view to having children in the future.

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She explained: "Initially there was potential for four eggs and then it gradually went down to one and it was a phantom egg. So that's kaput for my eggs."

She added: "To be fair, I was first told this was likely when I was 12, so, for years I have been pondering the other options, like adoption or egg donation."

With her chemo finally over at the end of June, 2017, Vicki started looking to the future. Her hair grew back and she and Simon went traveling.

Vicki said: "We travelled around South East Asia from February to June 2018, going to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and a bit of Western Australia, which was wonderful."

She continued: "Then we worked for a few months and went around Europe from August to October, before going skiing with my family in Bulgaria over New Year."

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But then during a routine checkup on 20 February 2019 her breast doctor found another lump where the cancer had been before on her left breast and said that looked like scar tissue.

Vicki said: "It grew between the skin and the silicon and saline implant, so I could feel it below the nipple."

Doctors acted quickly and on 25 February Vicki had a biopsy which, on 6 March led to catastrophic news.

She said: "A nurse asked me to come in to the hospital and I thought 'I don't like this'. I asked why and made them tell me on the phone. Something in me wanted to hear it and my first question was 'Am I going to die?'

"I think my breast care nurse just said something to console me."

She continued: "I just didn't think it was my turn to go through it all again. I had thought that it might come back but not until I was 30 or later."

As Vicki and her family prepared for yet another battle, Simon took a step towards making one of her dreams a reality.

She said: "Simon proposed on 19 March. I'm a massive Anne Boleyn fan and he proposed in the chapel of the Tower of London where her body was buried."

But, a day later on 20 March, at a scheduled appointment following a routine CT scan at Watford General Hospital, Vicki was horrified to be told doctors had seen "a speck" on two of her spinal vertebrae.

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They explained that her breast cancer was now stage four, it had spread and she also had spinal tumors that were inoperable.
Vicki remembers seeing her builder dad, Dave, 55, cry for the first time, when they told him and her brother what had happened.

She said: "I'd never seen Dad cry before, but we're very close and normally pretty good at receiving bad news, so it was a shock."

Giving her anywhere between three and 30 years to live, they said they could not be more precise until they see the results of an MRI scan on 10 April, which she is expecting any day, due to the aggressive nature of breast cancer in young people.

Still, Vicki, who is also waiting for a new treatment plan, went ahead with a lumpectomy on 28 March at St Albans to remove her breast tumor below the nipple on her left breast.

She said: "I'm terrified of what my medical team will say next, to be honest. I said to my oncologist I thought everything would go back to normal but it didn't.

"This cancer will never be out of me now. There's nothing I can do. I eat healthily, I don't smoke, there's literally no reason for me to have been dealt this card."

"I'm most scared of not being around to watch my family grow old."

She added: "And I want to get married and have children, or even see my friends and brother have children and get married. I'd like to look after my parents when they get old too."

But, despite her fears, Vicki – who returned to work a week after her lumpectomy – is still determined to give herself incentives to carry on, the most important of which will be to buy a horse of her own.

She continued: "Being with horses is my escape from the anxiety, fear and sadness of the cancer that lives in me and how it's going to affect my life."

She said: "I even have list of horse names, that's how sad I am! Simon told me to call it Lord Elrond and I thought of Thor, so that's the short list at the moment.

"My dream is becoming a reality and I said to myself 'You can have your dream horse' and it takes away the fear."
To donate to Vicki's horse fund at

The company behind the Assassin’s Creed video games has pledged 500,000 euros (around $564,900 USD) to help restore Notre Dame Cathedral.

French publisher Ubisoft featured a painstaking recreation of the landmark in its 2014 game Assassin’s Creed Unity, which is set in Paris during the French Revolution.

Now, after fire ripped through the 850-year-old building earlier this week, the company is vowing to help with its reconstruction.

“As the smoke clears on the events that unfolded on Monday at the Notre Dame de Paris, we stand in solidarity with our fellow Parisians and everyone around the world moved by the devastation the fire caused," Ubisoft said in a statement. "Notre Dame is an integral part of Paris, a city to which we are deeply connected. Seeing the monument in peril like this affected us all. In light of Monday’s events, we will be donating €500k to help with the restoration and reconstruction of the cathedral. We encourage all of you who are interested to donate as well.”

Ubisoft dedicated 14 months of production time – a total of 5,000 hours of work – to recreating the cathedral for Unity.

The interior of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Assassin's Creed Unity

PA Viral

Game players are able to climb up the outside of the building and explore the intricate detail of the interior.

Such is the realism of the rendering there has been speculation the research and analysis could help with the upcoming restoration efforts, though a spokesperson for Ubisoft said the company was “not currently involved”.

“It is important to keep in mind that what we did for the game was not a scientific reconstruction but rather an artistic vision,” the spokesperson said. “While we wanted to be very precise with details, there are some differences in terms of scale and with some elements. That being said, we would be more than happy to lend our expertise in any way that we can to help with these efforts.”

Notre-Dame Cathedral in Assassin's Creed Unity

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Unity will be available for free to PC users for the next week in a move Ubisoft says will “give everyone the chance to experience the majesty and beauty of Notre Dame”.

“Video games can enable us to explore places in ways we never could have otherwise imagined,” Ubisoft said. “We hope, with this small gesture, we can provide everyone an opportunity to appreciate our virtual homage to this monumental piece of architecture.”

Also contributing to the efforts to restore the cathedral was Disney, who produced an animated version of Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback Of Notre Dame in 1996. They announced a five million US dollars contribution.

“The Walt Disney Company stands with our friends and neighbours in the community, offering our heartfelt support as well as a five million US dollars donation for the restoration of this irreplaceable masterpiece,” Disney chairman Robert A Iger said.

VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Chinese state media reported the last known female Yangtze giant soft-shell turtle has died.

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TW: Eating Disorder and triggering images.

Breanna Cornell enjoys being suspended by her skin from metal hooks and running 100 mile ultra-marathons, has spoken of the "immense sense of joy and feeling of achievement" provided by her hobbies. Which have helped her combat anorexia and body dysmorphia.

Cornell said both activities involved pushing her body to the limit and, while having sharp objects threaded into her skin was initially uncomfortable, the fear and excitement was also thrilling.

Cornell lives in Coconino County, Arizona – where suspension is illegal, since it is not considered a medical procedure unless it is carried out by a doctor. Nevertheless, Cornell has taken part in the practice 12 times, since being introduced to it by her then boyfriend, two-and-a-half years ago.

"There is certainly a connection for me between long-distance running and suspending that accounts for why I enjoy them both so much," she said. "There is that feeling of fear and adrenaline at the start that then becomes an almost calm-like meditation once you get going, and then the overwhelming feeling of achievement at the end."

Despite the inevitable pain experienced by hook suspension, Cornell insists she is not a masochist, seeing the pastime more as an artistic and emotional expression, while admitting that she does enjoy challenging her body.

PA REAL LIFE - Breanna Cornell

Hook suspension has been practiced by Native Americans for hundreds of years.

"I wouldn't say that I derive my pleasure in suspending – or marathon running for that matter – from the pain, but I would certainly say that I like being able to push my body to its limits, which does involve some amount of pain," Cornell said. "For thousands of years, humans have endured pain as part of daily life, but in the modern world we have been able to live pain free. This seems to me to make us lacking at a genetic level as pain is an essential element of human existence and I, for one, couldn't do without it."

PA REAL LIFE - Breanna Cornell

A long-distance runner since childhood, Cornell completed her first marathon just after leaving school in 2010, but soon set her sights on greater goals than 26.2 miles and in 2012 was competing in ultra-marathons in Africa.

Around the same time she developed a penchant for body modification, having her first tattoo, a wing on her foot, aged 18, followed by a series of piercings on her ears and nose.

"Growing up, I had had a lot of problems with anorexia and body dysmorphia, where you have a very negative perception of your body," Cornell added. "I liked getting piercings and tattoos of drawings that I had made, because it allowed me to look at my body and focus on them instead of the way I looked."

PA REAL LIFE - Breanna Cornell

At this point hook suspending was not yet on her radar, although she was aware of it, but viewed it as "gory and unpleasant."
That changed in April 2016 when she joined her then boyfriend, a suspension enthusiast, at an event.

Watching him being strung up by a professional piercing artist at a studio in Phoenix, Arizona – where suspension is legal – she was fascinated.

PA REAL LIFE - Breanna Cornell

"Up until that point, I didn't think it was for me at all. It looked very scary and frankly quite gory," she explained. "But then, as soon as I saw it for myself, I knew immediately that this was something I wanted to do."

She would have to wait another six months, however, before she could be hooked up herself. But in October 2016, she arranged a session with the same piercing artist in Phoenix, costing $100.

PA REAL LIFE - Breanna Cornell

"I was really, really nervous beforehand and was sick twice because there was so much adrenaline pumping through me," she said. "I was put in the 'suicide' position, so called because it looks like a person hanging as the hooks are through the skin at the top of your back, and there was a lot of fear to overcome, as I lifted my final toe off the ground, as it feels so unnatural. But once I was up there, suspended five feet off the ground, I had a rush of immense joy and it felt as though I was weightless and floating."

PA REAL LIFE - Breanna Cornell

Staying suspended for half an hour, Cornell knew as soon as she was eventually let down that she would have to do it again – she was, literally, hooked. So, six months later, she returned – this time being rigged up in a 'superman' position, flying forwards with 10 hooks along her back and legs.

Having now been suspended 12 times, or roughly every six months, Cornell says her hobby provides her with an outlet for her emotions.

PA REAL LIFE - Breanna Cornell

"My response to each suspension really varies on my mood. If I am happy then I will have a lot of fun and swing around a bit," she explained, adding that she also chooses her position according to her mood. "But if I am feeling a bit stressed then it can be really nice to get into a more static position like the hammock – where you are sitting into the suspension with your knees and shoulders hooked. That way, I can sit comfortably for hours and just relax."

Despite its long history and growing popularity around the world, hook suspension is not without its detractors, some of whom Cornell has encountered.

PA REAL LIFE - Breanna Cornell

"I realize that not everyone will understand the appeal. One person I know said it was 'appalling.' But that's why I often try to compare it with marathon running – a much less maligned pastime," she said. "There is just as much pain involved in running long distances, but you don't necessarily do it for that reason – you do it for the satisfaction of having pushed your body. And that, for me, is one of life's greatest joys."

PA REAL LIFE - Breanna Cornell