John is dead.  It seems impossible to believe that someone so loving life, outgoing, positive and vibrant, can actually die.  Why isn't he popping his head around the corner, saying it's all a big joke?

John means many things to many people, and the turnout at his funeral represented the impact he had on so many lives.  I met John when I had my liver transplant (2000).  From him, I gathered a lot of knowledge about his life, happenings and interests.  I was aware of his interest in the Mini Car club, but never saw him drive anything except his Galant.  His son, Brad, had already died, but I heard about him and his skills, as well as what it was like to be a donor family, before they became a recipient family.  He loved his cats, and sent messages to mine.

I almost expected John to e-mail me his own write-up of what he wanted to have on this website, which meant so much to him.  It would not have surprised me at all if he had done this, had he lived a little longer.  Though whatever he wrote, would be modestly written.

The funeral service highlighted many of his life's experiences, from meeting his wife at teacher's college, to their joint teaching years, tenting holidays, biking exploits and his love of motorbikes.  I know that the other recipients and caregivers who attended the funeral, and Susan, John's wife, were appreciative that members of the New Zealand Liver Transplant Unit attended this service, including Dr. John (his surgeon), Val (transplant co-ordinator), Gail (nurse) and Ron (social worker).

The last time I saw John was on Tuesday 4th June, in the Unit, in Ward 7B.  He still had his big smile, although he was struggling to put words to his thoughts.  When I left, he winked at me, a truly John touch.  It seemed unreal that he could have slipped downhill so fast, since the Thanksgiving Service in April.  He was concerned that many people who knew him would comment on how well he looked, at this service (which he did), and had spent most of the previous day ringing people in advance to tell them his ghastly news.  

As co-webhost with me for this site, I am going to miss his input tremendously.  Every day I would expect an e-mail to #62 (me), signed L8R - #27 with either a piece of re-worked code, an idea, a scanned image, digital photos, or other things that he had been spending a lot of time on.  His last big contribution to the website was putting together our Guestbook, which had been one of his goals for a while.  He would bring things over on fluorescent lime and orange floppy disks.  He was constantly thinking of things which would improve the information available to recipients, caregivers and those newly listed.  He put a huge amount of time into obtaining information about getting around in Auckland, while he, his wife and I went through Transplant House together to get information and photos for this site.

John and Susan's story had been shared at a Thanksgiving Service, which they were generous enough to share on this website as well.  John was also willing to share pictures of himself, scar included, as another way of informing people what they could expect.  He spent hours hunting out Handy Hints for immune-suppressed people, which he shared in the "Hepatic Happenings" and on the website, ranging from anti-bacterial toothbrushes to anti-bacterial handwash gel.  He was a constant participant in the Liver Transplant Recipients Group.  I have never seen him depressed, or anything other than friendly, helpful, and letting his wicked sense of humour show.

John, you will be always missed, you made a difference.  Susan, our thoughts will be with you as you adjust to the loss of John in your life.

Rest well, #27.