August 14, 2020


The words I spoke at the funeral

Amid the overwhelming outpouring of support over the last two weeks, I received a card from a friend and colleague of Kim. I’d like to start by reading a particular passage from it that I think describes Kim beautifully:

The most striking thing about Kim was her complete humility. She treated everyone as special: everyone felt she was their particular friend, supporter and fan. She didn't even push her ideas, she simply offered them in good faith and well - they were usually so wise that we did what she suggested.

It was as though she loved everyone - not in a sweet sugary way but with a fierce, bright heart that loves as naturally as we breathe. Love as a commitment to action. A real Nurse.

I have no idea what Kim's own spiritual beliefs were, but I always felt as though I was with an Elder, a Wise Woman, in her presence. Her very humility stopped her from being aware of her own holiness.

Now, I’m nowhere near as eloquent as that. I’ve spent many hours staring at a blank page, trying to conjure words which might go even a small way to convey how I feel, but I’m not sure that any exist that can. So I guess I’ll settle for some simpler ones:


I miss you. I love you, so much.

Two weeks ago when you went, the sun disappeared from the centre of my universe, and the incredible life that we looked forward to, ended.

When I look around at other people, I see their lives continuing, but for me, I want it to stop. I don’t ever want to move away from the point of my life when you were still here. The more time that passes, the further away I am from the last time you gave me a cuddle, or held my hand, or told me you loved me.

I haven’t just lost my wife and my best friend. I’ve lost half of myself.

I still see you. I see you walking down the beach in front of me, turning around and flashing that brilliant, bright smile. I hear you laughing across the room, that unfiltered, perfect laugh that would elevate you and make you wonder why you were laughing too. I see you curled up on the sofa in your corner, wrapped up in one of your favourite Pati Lock knitted jumpers, arms extended to bring me in for a cuddle. I see you lying next to me in bed, on those mornings where I wake up first, watching you breathe softly whilst you sleep peacefully. And I see those times where we’d just stare at each other, not saying words, not needing to, because no words existed that described the love we felt for each other.

To be honest, I haven’t yet had the courage to acknowledge that you’re gone. I’ve been scared to speak to you, because I know that if I do, I won’t hear your beautiful voice in return.

However. There are moments, in between the crashing waves, at those times where I feel utterly hopeless, where I can feel you.

I can feel you holding my hand. Pulling me back from the edge. I can feel you turning me around, looking at me with that warm, understanding look that you have, that same look that you gave me in the hospital, as you lay in bed, stroking my hand, to comfort me. I can hear you saying to me, with that unexplained wisdom:

That death is an inevitability, but that grief is not. Rather, that grief is a debt we accrue when we are fortunate enough to love someone. And that the more that we love, the more we owe to grief. And for you, Kim, the infinite vaults of love and of grief have been filled to impossible capacity.

There is no avoiding this. Grief and love are inexplicably bound to one another. And now with your passing, I find myself facing down the incomprehensible vastness of the debt that lies ahead.

But I always knew what I was signing up for. When I fell in love with you seven years ago, I silently, but knowingly signed a contract with grief, knowing one day, I’d have to face my debt.

And now, utterly cruelly, at the very beginning of our lives together, I must.

But I won’t shy away from it. Because this is you. Because the very essence of everything you taught us tells me not to. I will wear my grief as a badge of honour. As a deep scar I’ll display proudly for the rest of my life. If people ask me about it, I will look them in the eye, and I’ll tell them that I had the absolute privilege of loving Kimberley St John. And I’ll carry you forwards in my heart until the day I die.

You may have left us in the physical world, but there is so much of you still here. You burn fiercely in the hearts of all of those you touched. And you touched so many people.

My Kim. You will forever be the brightest star in the sky.


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