... in my brain actually. My very own brain tumour

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Last Post

Dear Friends out there who have been keeping track of John's blog,

It is with great sadness & a very heavy heart, but also with relief, that I am writing this last post on the blog.

Yesterday just before noon, John died peacefully at home. He left this world as he wished - he just drifted into a sleep & faded away quietly, without a fuss.

We are so grateful that this happened before he became bedridden. We still would get him up & dressed each day to sit in his favourite chair in the lounge where he could listen to his music. He was suffering no pain, nausea or headaches but he did have a fair amount of mental anguish as his mind became confused. Except for his steroid face, he looked remarkably healthy & took great pleasure in eating rum & raisin icecream whenever he could persuade us to give it to him. In spite of his mental suffering he kept his wonderful sense of humour to the end.

Dearest Johnny, rest in peace and until we meet again may God hold you in the palm of his hand.


JohnW - Sydney said...


You have been my best friend for 50 years. It has been a friendship that has not only survived time but also long periods of vast geographic separation. But despite all that, whenever we got together it was as if we were neighbours and had seen each other the previous day.

Your remarkable intellect was fueled by wide ranging interests, invariably well researched, and you were able to discuss them with anyone in words they could easily understand. Amongst other things, we have shared a profound love of nature and especially the mountains. We embarked on a
life-long love affair with them in our early teens.

Behind the reserve and formality was someone who was genuinely interested in people and their welfare. You always seemed slightly amazed at just how many interesting and nice people you met through mountaineering. Life with all its challenges and uncertainties fell into perspective when you were on the mountain.

I can’t conclude without reference to your love of music and competence on the piano. Classical music has always been at the core for you and the skill with which you have played the old masters with such intense feeling has been quite remarkable.

So it with a heavy heart and aching sadness that I farewell to the best friend any man could have. Go well my friend; my memories of you will never fade - they will be cherished forever.

cindy smit said...

Dear Joan, I hope that you receive this after all this time. I only discovered John's blog a few months ago as I started chemo for breast cancer. I was very sad to read that he had passed away and wanted to let you know that even though I never knew him, he touched my life in such a positive way with his words. I will especially always remeber one section where John describes the joy that he discoved - "I have been given a priceless gift and I am at peace. What does this joy feel like? It is not a wild, loud, charismatic, shouting emotion. It is a feeling like a gentle smile. It is quiet and it is infinitely beautiful. It is filled with humour and anticipation. It stays with me easily. I don't have to hold it with a tight fist. It is here to stay, in my head, in every cell in my body and the interstices between them." I too have come to know joy as a gentle smile. I pray that God will heap blessings, joy and peace on you and your family. And know that John is smiling that gentle smile of joy wherever he is now. Regards, Cindy Smit (cindys@mweb.co.za)