A couple of days ago I was looking through Nige’s phone. I haven’t been able to bring myself to cancel his contract with 2 degrees yet! It’s funny how cell phones have become such an integral part of our lives, so much so that they are now also a record of them. I was so grateful for that after Nige died. While I was on his phone, I also happened to look at some of the calls he had made. The last phone call he ever made was to me, on the morning he died.
It had been a terrifying phone call to receive. Nige was in hospital and had woken up unable to breath. He was stable but I had been asked to come in and meet with his doctor ASAP. I knew what this meant. Nige’s long, incredibly brave battle with cancer was drawing to an end. And one year ago today it did.
Over the last 2 weeks a lot has happened, we’ve bought a house! The kids have had a lot going on. Work has been busy. I’ve been trying not to think too much about what today would be like. But what I did decide was that today I was going to allow myself a full day to be immersed in one thing, memories of a man who shaped my life (and the lives of many others) in so any ways, and gave me two amazing, beautiful children who I couldn’t be prouder of.
Today we plant three Rimu trees, in a strong triangle, at Queen Elizabeth II park, very near the spot where Nige, myself, the kids, and of course Molly the dog would find entrance to the beach. We would walk the stretch of sand halfway to Paekakariki and back, enjoying the fresh air, beach combing, climbing the immense sand dunes, and basking in the beauty of that gorgeous view across the sea to Kapiti Island. Our turn around point was a column of tyres for many months, until they were washed away in a large storm. An old tree was brought high up on the beach during this storm, and so became our new turn around point, replacing the tyres. Out with the old and in with the new, as is life, constant transformation. Nige’s Facebook pic still shows this tree, which will forever hold meaning for myself and his family. These walks along the Kapiti Coast, at this particular spot, were very enjoyable and almost spiritual for Nige, so I think he would be OK with where we are planting the trees.
Maybe in a year we will add a plaque, and my wish is that these trees and plaque will serve as a place where those who loved Nige may go to find him again for a few moments. The trees will be just back from the beach, behind the dunes, in a small dell. On a sunny day it is lovely and very peaceful there, with various birds chatting quietly, and the sounds of the sea in the background. As the trees grow they will reach high into the sky, as Nige did, and find the sun, peacefully enjoying the view across to Kapiti Island.
The year without you has gone by so fast Nige, and so many things have happened, things you should have been a part of. You are so missed, by so many, and will never be forgotten. Today all that love you, will remember what you meant to them, and that is a very powerful thing. I believe you have been around the last few weeks, helping out, and that you will be around today. I hope so. Gone from the world, but alive in a photo, a memory, a fragment of sand, and a breeze through some tall, proud rimu trees. Forever in our children. Forever in all of our hearts. Our rocket man, flying through the stars, to infinity.