A year ago. In the early hours of the morning I woke up when I heard Jane’s glasses fall to the floor. In the few seconds it took me to get to her, it was clear she was dead.

Last week the coroner finally gave a reason. A heart defect leading to sudden cardiac death. It really was an instantaneous as I had thought. All my cpr really was for nothing.

How can it already be a year? In another 4 months as long as the border stays open I can finally take Jane’s ashes home to rest in the land that her heart and wairua asked me to take her back to. Aotearoa, land of the long white cloud.

I feel almost numb tonight. I walked the dog at sunset – the photo was taken on this walk. Or rather jog, he wanted to run and I was happy to love fast as the sun was setting and it was getting cold. I cooked a lovely meal to share with a friend. Made quince crumble from my quinces that this year ripened on the tree that I planted 6 years ago when Jane and I were making this house, in this land, our home. This is the first year I have got to eat the quinces. Every other year only one has grown and never ripened. Either the birds got it or I picked it too soon and it just sat on the bench green as.

It was bittersweet to eat the crumble. Jane hated cooked fruit but loved the crumble topping! In fact she hated most fruit cooked, raw but chopped or just there too often. She joked it was because she didn’t like healthy food but really it was because she didn’t like the texture of most fruit. Crunchy apples were good.

A year. So many memories. So much grief. The man across the road’s wife died last weekend. He is devastated as are his adult children. We talked yesterday and he gave me some fruit from one of his fruit trees. I will take him some quinces next week.

As I said to him, sadly I do know some of how you are feeling. He swung between tears and acceptance that when it is your time to die, it is your time.

Make the most of the time you have people. Be kind to yourself and others. Take the time to smell the flowers and herbs, watch the sunsets and occasional sunrise. Truly listen to people when they talk to you and hug those you love tight literally or metaphorically.

Arohanui Jane. You brought me both joy and sadness but without one you cannot understand the other. You are missed by so many and loved by so many more than you realised.