There are very few of my old colleagues and friends with whom I have stayed in touch over the years To my shame I have not been a very good correspondent at all, though I usually get off an emailed missive or two each year. I usually write a long generic situation report and then add a few personal details to selected individuals who get a personalised copy each, while to the rest I send it off as a circular email. My Christmas email was short and a bit late going out this year It bounced from one recipient. I tried resending a couple more times, then googled her name, expecting the worst, which is precisely what I found.
van der WERFF, Erica Joyce Poultney.
On 10 May, 2013 peacefully at Waitakere Hospital surrounded by family and friends…
Erica was one of the nurses I worked with in public health. She was an Occupationa Health Nurse and a good friend to June and me. In the days before OSH when the Department of Health did occupational health and safety, we worked together at interesting locations such as lead processes, electroplaters, foundries, battery manufacturers and recyclers, fibreglass and rubber boat builders, chemical works, spray painters and sand blasters. Most interesting of all was at the Naval dockyards at Devonport.
I am particularly fond of Erica because it is because of her that I have the second daughter I have, and not some other second daughter who would probably have been very different, born much later, and therefore would be a couple of years younger.
This came about because when our first was barely a year old, Erica asked me how I was making sure that I did not burden my dear wife with another child too soon. I told her of the neat little rubber precautions we were using, and she thereupon produced a box of them. a full gross of prophylactics that she been issued in the course of her duties.
The first five of them broke. We threw the rest away and bought some that were more reliable. Too late. We found out that June was once more pregnant shortly after.
And I have no regrets whatsoever about that.
So. Farewell Erica, I am sorry I did not notice your absence sooner. Thank you so much for my daughter.