37 2000. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

New years eve held all the drama of a new Millennium with the added panic that all the computers were going to crash… they didn’t and we all survived to tell the tale of where we were and what we were doing at the dawn of the new Millennium.   As this is a rather rare occurrence it is something special to have lived through and I know at the time we were excited to be part of it.  In all honesty, I cant actually even remember where I was or who I was with to celebrate….. and really it paled into significance as the year 2000 unfolded with drama of its own.

Plans for our wedding on May 13 were well underway with a lunch planned for the following day to celebrate my parents 40th Wedding Anniversary.  People were coming from far and wide with travel, accommodation and meals all being planned.

As planning for our wedding swung into top  gear Dean had a relapse of his melanoma that required surgeries and radiotherapy in Hamilton about 100km from home.  His radiotherapy sessions were completed just weeks before our May wedding.  During this time my friend Kay suffered further heart attacks and was also in hospital in Rotorua and Hamilton  – seeing me travel many kms to visit and shuttle both patients while still working and maintaining home & family.   It was a manic time.

The weekend of our wedding went of beautifully with many catch-ups  from the past and new memories being made.  I was attended by my buddy Ally and my sister Anne-Louise while Dean was supported by his mates Kevin and Deano.

The Big Day
The Big Day

My lovely children did not give me away but offered to share me with Dean.  Music was provided by the Western Heights High School band with afternoon tea catering by the Lioness club and a hangi dinner prepared by Jim and the Tourism students.  My brand new nephew Eddie was in attendance as the youngest guest and my Nana Smith was there as the oldest.  Although I had been married before, Dean hadn’t so we had all the bells and whistles. Looking back, I’m glad we went all out. We even set up a website for the wedding.

Within months of the wedding Deans oncologist advised that the treatment he had received was not working and a course of chemotherapy was tried, to no avail.  By August we received the news that there were no further treatment options.   It was my honor to nurse Dean at home, host his family whenever they came to visit and to have my children recognize him on Fathers Day.

Tigger, Helen, Dean and Rex
Tigger, Helen, Dean and Rex on Fathers Day

Dean passed away peacefully, at home, on 20 December 2000.

The thing that really blew my mind was the number of people who attended Deans  funeral –

  • those who knew him, friends of his family & his work colleagues
  • those who attended in support of me, family(particularly those from overseas), friends and colleagues
  • medical and allied staff who had assisted in Deans care
  • but most mind blowing were the number of teenagers who attended in support of Riki, Alisha and Dianne…. those kids were amazing.

We held a large family Christmas that year, as he had wished, that included a mass attendance at the evening carols service and a sit down lunch for a crowd at home.

I will be forever grateful for the love and support shown to us at this time.

It was the best of time….it was the worst of times….but in hindsight – I wouldn’t have done anything differently. 

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