"All sorts of entertaining" - Elizabeth Seckman

"Michael and his pals make me wish I lived in Adelaide" - Cherdo

"If I had a daughter, I'd send her to Australia to meet him (and marry him)" - Robyn Alana Engel

"An Australian version of me. Only younger. And Talented. And better looking. Okay, nothing like me." - Al Penwasser

"Whom must I fuck or pay to get a quotation at the top of your blog post?" - Janie Junebug

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Remembering Jacqueline

This blog was a casualty of my eventful lifestyle. I got to a point where blogging got so low on my list of priorities that I had to can it. I left behind a growing readership, a lovely community and some rather fantastic friends.

One of those friends was Jacqueline Mitchell. She was a force of nature. She had a host of health problems, but managed to keep (or maybe I should say "which give her") this wonderful, feisty attitude towards life.

As you might suspect, I'm writing this because we won't be graced with that feisty attitude any more. Jacqueline passed away after complications from a stroke on Monday 6th of February.

Another blogging friend, Robyn, had messaged us to break the news. It was on the following Wednesday and I had just arrived at footy training. It was like one of those things you might see in the movies where the rest of the world fades into the background and all you can focus on is the message. I was dumbfounded, not only by the news itself, but also by the fact that it had affected me so much. As I got out of the car and wandered absent-mindedly into the changeroom, people said hi to me and asked me how I was going. I wanted to say "Actually, not well. A friend of mine just passed away." But I couldn't bring myself to bring it up. These were people that I didn't know too well, and I had no idea how to explain it. How do you explain to a teenager that I was friends with an old lady that I met on the internet?

I continued to be in a reserved, melancholy mood for the rest of the night. But why was I so affected? I didn't actually know her that well. She commented on my blog posts, I commented on hers. We connected on Facebook and made the occasional comment to each other. I liked her wit and resilience, she liked my sense of adventure and philosophical outlook. But that's it. I hadn't really made the time to get to know her any deeper than that.

I eventually realised that that was the problem. I was so affected precisely because I hadn't gotten to know her. I'd taken her limited presence in my life for granted and now that she was gone, she'd never know how awesome I thought she was. It's one of those things... You don't think to tell people the things they need to hear - that they're loved, that they're not alone, or that they're an inspiration. You don't think to tell them you're sorry or that you're proud of them. Then there comes a time when you can't say it any more. And suddenly, you wish you had.

Jacqueline will serve as a reminder of two things - to always maintain my personality and vigour in my old age and deteriorating health, and to always let people know I appreciate them. Otherwise they'll disappear, and you won't be able to let them know any more.
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