What a sad week we all had...

I had not expected to feel so sad when I heard the news of Jonah Lomu’s death.  We had all known he was suffering from severe kidney disease but he looked hale and hearty as Rugby Ambassador at the World Cup - so it was a shock.  

Why has it made me feel so sad? Firstly, I think it is because he had overcome some real hurdles in his life to get to a happy place and it seems supremely unfair that he has not fulfilled his dream of seeing his sons turn 21.  He said those boys were his motivation for getting up in the morning and getting on with life when things were difficult. 
 
I also think I am sad because I know how important role models are, especially Pasifika role models.    People who have overcome challenging circumstances and developed resilience, in spite of the odds stacked against them, can inspire others to become hopeful rather than despairing.  His was a good story.  He made some mistakes and got past them – then, when the source of his fame was no longer there for him (his stunning Rugby prowess), he never seemed bitter or sorry for himself.  He grew into a wonderfully warm and humane person with time for people.  He was a celebrity without arrogance.  We have lost someone who was a force for good.  
It was great to see how well he is remembered and revered at his old school, Wesley College. His teachers must feel  proud to see what became of him.
 
I remember when I read of the writer Maya Angelou’s death there was a quote that really resonated with me and thinking of Jonah has reminded me of what she said:
"I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel".
—Maya Angelou
 
For the record, I have just Googled this quote and find there is now some doubt that it originated from  Maya. All the same it kind of fits how I feel about Jonah.  
 
He made me feel:
exhilarated when he mowed over and round his tacklers 
admiration for the way he coped with severe disappointment
moved by his tender meeting with Joost Van Der Westhuizen crippled with Motor Neuron disease, 
very sad but also grateful that he has been such an inspiration to so many
 
                                                                                  RIP Jonah Lomu 1975-2015
 
Jessica Craig

Accent Learning
26 November 2015