Chasing Crocodiles


And so it’s a year – one long excruciating year made up of 365 long excruciating days.

I thought I would write a blog to mark the one year anniversary of Brian’s death and to honour him, to remember him. I would like to remember him with joy and with humour and nostalgia as I know most of you will remember him. His endless good cheer, the laconic jokes, the acute memory for rugby scores. And to remember his work and the way he grew from a school teacher who really liked kids but hated the boring push-round of staff meetings to a man in charge of his own destiny, doing what he loved and had so much talent for.

 Brian loved his work but it wasn’t just the furniture he loved, he also loved the people he worked with and the people he worked for. He made so many friends of his clients and I know many of you are still missing him. Reuben has kept the business going, stamping his own mark on it and doing things his own way, but he still talks to people almost every day who remember Brian and miss him – just like we do.

Brian’s life was colourful and full. He made the most of everything, always found the positives and had endless patience – especially for children. The colour went out of our lives when he died and this year has been very long and dark.

I had no idea that it would be like this. I had experienced loss before but this turns out to be a side swipe of epic proportions that takes you completely out of any kind of balance or hope of holding your ground. It has been a struggle to avoid being completely flattened by it at times. But a year has passed, I need to find a way to move forward and in some ways I have. In fact, to the casual observer, I probably seem as though I have. But life without Brian doesn’t make sense to me at all, and all the things you do like emptying the dishwasher, and painting the bathroom, and folding the washing and planting vegetables in the garden – they make no sense now. I hope it gets better eventually – it has to surely? But then again, maybe they never did make sense, I just thought they did.

Many people say that they see their loved one after they have died, in the street or standing at the end of the bed or in random, phantom appearances in unusual places but I have never seen Brian (although Laura has) up until now. Now I am seeing him everywhere.

Tonight as I drove the 90 km from Foxton to Wellington, I spent about 40km behind a very upright chap on a fairly small motorbike. I didn’t try to overtake him since he was doing exactly the speed limit without wavering and that’s what I like. So between us we led a procession held at the speed limit safely all the way home to Wellington. When I got to the motorway, with two lanes, I pulled out to overtake him and looked to the right – and there he was, Brian - looking straight ahead, upright, grey moustache, big hands on those controls – I would know him anywhere. He didn’t look at me. If you know me, you will know that I am the major road safety Nazi and Brian most certainly was not. But this one time – he was with me.

‘Out beyond ideas of right doing or wrong doing, there’s a field – I’ll meet you there”. Rumi

Kakadu Capers

Reuben and Laura and I are going on a crocodile safari in Kakadu  National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory to mark the anniversary of Brian’s death. This may seem like a very strange thing to do but it’s not really if you knew Brian like we did. He was obsessed with snakes and crocodiles, he watched wild life programmes with a passion. As he never got to do this but had always planned to, we thought we would go for him. On the anniversary of his death, we will be getting picked up at 6 in the morning and heading out to Mary River which has apparently got the highest density of crocodiles in the world – truly!!! It will be a fairly scarey adventure for us but  we know he will be coming along for the ride.

Thank you everyone for all your support over this horrible horrible year and the preceding horrible horrible years. We are very lucky to have you all and I know we walk among friends always - except perhaps when we get to that crocodile river.   Arohanui-Lesley Reuben and Laura