At 9.48pm this evening I lost someone so very close to my heart and someone whose presence in my life was larger than life itself. She was like a mother figure, a really good friend but apart from that, a totally wonderful human being which is rare find in this world that we live in today.
I remember meeting Jacqueline in April of 2008 when I went to work for her at her surgery and she was in some trouble as her manager had left her and things were just a mess to say the least. She was at her wit’s end and I recall her asking me if I could help her in any way I could and I remember clearly sitting across in her room, and telling her that I would do anything to help her get the surgery back to its feet. She instantly jumped up from her chair and walked to me and enveloped me in the warmest hug possible and from then began a wonderful relationship between two people who were brought together in a disaster.
Working for and with Jacqueline was an experience in itself. She was always a bundle of energy looking to solve all the worlds problems and inspired me many a time with her enthusiasm for life and her desire to do the best for all those that came across her path. She was a walking encyclopaedia of knowledge and always wanted to learn more and more, and then pass her knowledge to those around her. At times I would just marvel at her in the way she just wouldn’t stop and worked endless hours and days with a driven passion which I envied. She gave herself wholly to her patients and was an excellent doctor. And I tried to work my way to be like her in that respect. That is how she rubbed off her magic on me and inspired me to always do better and do the most with my resources and never give up.
I worked for her and with her for the best part of 7 years and what fun-filled, work filled and love filled years they were. Between her, Jane (my other boss and her partner at work) and me, we were three women who strove to do the best at work and in our personal lives giving one another boosts of confidence and lifting each other up at all times when things were low. We just clicked. It was a relationship of trust, responsibility and sheer hard work and one all three of us cherished.
When my little boy was born in 2014, and all hell broke loose in my life due to the severity of complications in his little life, Jacqueline was a strong rock among many, who kept me going and was there on my first day back at work, with open welcoming arms, a huge smile and a motherly love that I will never forget. I mean, we weren’t even related, just two women from different parts of a life who had come together by forces of karma I think, to bring some sort of reason to each others lives. She would talk to me all the time and pushed me into believing that everything would be fine. And it was.
When she told me of her illness that same year when my little boy was born, I remember going cold with fear at the prospect of losing her. I can still picture that moment in my head as clear as it was yesterday, as she say in her room, next to me, with Jane, and told me of the cancer. I remember not being able to stop my hands from shaking the entire way driving home after that. But I believed her words stating that she was going to fight it through, and fight it she did. With every single nerve, cell and atom of her body for three years before succumbing to the disease this evening where she finally closed her eyes to the world forever.
I don’t know what I am going to miss the most about her because there was so much of her presence in my life. Even in her final days of her life, she messaged me regularly and we talked about life, about my kids and their lives. She took such an interest in Rizuls schooling. Right to the last moment she tried to help me in every way to make sure he was going in the right direction with his studies, advising me on what paths he could take, taking such an interest in his work, in his career almost like a family member would or in my case, more so than many family members. She always had an avid interest in my little Rishaan’s life, wanting to know how his development was, how quickly he was learning to speak, to walk to run. Demanding that I sent her pictures of him as he grew up and taking such an interest in my life at all times.
The last time I met her, she was happy. Laughing with me. Holding my hand while her family and Jane were all there. They all made me so welcome in their home, into their sadness and their lives unlike any other family had done and I felt as though I was a part of them and their heartbreak and their loss. That Friday, all of us sitting in her living room in her flat just chatting and laughing and being normal will be an indelible memory in my life and I’m so glad that the last memory I have of her is of that laughter.
Dear Jacqueline, you loved me as a good friend, as a daughter, as a human being and always inspired me to do my best. When I hit rock bottom at any time in my life, you hugged the worries away and sat with me, listening to me go on about how unfair life could be but then laughing it off and telling me it was all going to be fine. You shared your precious minutes with me, teaching me to be a better human being and telling me that life was unfair but we just had to be the strong women that we were and shrug if off and carry on as normal. You scolded me when you noticed me not taking care of myself or working myself ragged and ordered me to go home when you saw that I couldn’t keep my eyes open at work.
You Jane and I together could face any trouble head on, with no qualms or fear because we fed off one another’s energies and positivities. We always worked so well together. And now Jane and I will have to carry on, the two of us, in a way that you would want us to.
I’m siting here alone, in my room, in my thoughts of you right now, tears blurring my vision, as I write this and am trying to remember what the last words were that you said to me when we last met. It went something along the lines of you telling me to always be strong for my children. And to never give up hope because there will always be a higher power that would look after me and pull me through like it had been pulling you through your life.
On a parting note, you have left an empty void in our lives Jacqueline. But you have also blessed me and many others with your wisdom, your strength, compassion and zest for life. You touched so many lives with your work and support and I know that you touched mine in ways that only you and I will ever know. You fought damn hard but we knew you would. It was just the kind of woman you were. A born fighter and a born survivor. Thank you for always being there whenever I needed you and for never saying no night or day. I will keep you alive in my thoughts forever and pray that wherever you are, you will be at peace. My heart breaks at the loss of my wonderful dear friend and its a void that will take some time to heal. I am going to miss reading your anecdotal messages that brightened my days until your last moment. Thank you for making me an important part of your life and for teaching me so much about life itself. You will always be remembered and loved by this humble friend and I will always be grateful for God to have brought me to your doorstep those 7 years ago. God bless and RIP.