Thinking about Jean

When you lose someone close it’s hard to express how much you miss them.

My friend Jean Marie Simpson passed away in February 2011 after battling cancer for over 11 years.

One of the worst things about being far away from my New Zealand home is that when something like that happens (losing a friend), there is no one to talk to about it – no one who has any clue who you’re talking about. There’s no history.

My grief and loss is NOTHING compared to that of her husband Kerry – and it pales in comparison to how much her daughter Kate misses her; or Emma, her step-daughter.

She was such a strong, vibrant woman. Larger than life.

Barely a day goes by without me thinking about her. It might be a tree, or flowers or a flickering fluorescent light. SO many reminders.

Before she passed away she said – I know you’re going to miss me. The truth was, I told her, that I had been missing her for YEARS.

I missed her when I moved from Wellington to Auckland. I missed her when I lived in Ireland and I missed her when I moved to Canada.

But I could always pick up the phone for a long, long chat.

When she went into hospice, I started to make little digital collages of all the things she meant to me.

Jean touched so many peoples’ lives – and she has indelibly marked MY life.

Jean was a Kindergarten teacher and incredibly highly regarded. Parents and kids adored her. She was President of the Kindergarten Teachers Association and her influence was felt right throughout the country. She was staunch, strong and fearless.

I love you mate.




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