Jack's Story
“...he never stopped smiling, he never gave up...”

New Zealand

Dianne and I went to New Zealand in October 2018. I was reluctant to travel but Dianne was keen so I figured a week away with this beautiful lady could do us both good. We went to Queenstown which is sublime for its character, site seeing, rugged scenery, wine and lovely people.

On one of the days we ventured into town for lunch and then wandered around the waterfront, a bottle shop, a second bottle shop (no we don’t have a problem!) and then went to a supermarket. When we were there I asked Dianne if she had the cap that I was wearing and she looked at me, stunned and said no. It was Jack’s favourite cap and I was immediately confronted by that terrible sense of dread. Dianne wasn’t happy and she had every right to be angry. So I back tracked – restaurant, first bottle shop and just peered through the window of the second bottle shop as it was very busy and I thought I would return after the supermarket.

When we left the supermarket carrying 100 bags of groceries we went back to the second bottle shop but couldn’t see it anywhere. So we picked up a couple of bottles of beer and walked (no staggered with the 100 grocery bags) to the counter to pay for the beer. As I waited to be attended to, I looked behind the counter and saw Jack’s cap. I said “that is my cap!” and a lady said “great, someone found it at the back”. I said “wow, thank you, it has great sentimental value as it belonged to my dead son”. At that point Dianne burst into tears. And the woman, who was heavily pregnant, started crying too and ran away from the counter and disappeared out the back. At this point there was a conga line of bemused shoppers all waiting to be served and the scene at the front of the queue was bordering on shambolic.

Within a couple of minutes the lady returned, although she was very moved by what I had just said and she was in no hurry to process our order and just said to me “you can stay there as long as you like”.

It was a spontaneous although inauspicious moment and reinforced the fragile nature of our notional recovery and highlighted the distance we still had to travel.