Sunday, 27 March 2011

From Mel

  Words spoken at Estelle's funeral ....
Hello everyone

For those of you I haven’t met, my name is Melissa and I am Estelle’s eldest sister. Thank you all so much for being here today to honour Estelle’s life. I’m not ready to ‘celebrate’ it yet – how can such a tragic end to a life with so much more to embrace be celebrated. But I will honour her life, the life she had lived so very well.

I will share a few memories that I have of Estelle as my sister – starting with the day she was born. I distinctly remember waving Mum & Dad off as they went to the hospital and Dad telling us the next day we had a new baby sister called Estelle. As Mum will tell anyone who will listen, she was the “perfect baby” – she ate and slept – and the title “perfect baby” was one that she was happy to claim and remind any of us about quite smugly whenever baby conversations took place. I remember her sleeping peacefully in her little white bassinette outside under the apple tree in our house in Henderson and when I look at her white place of rest today I have to believe she is once more sleeping peacefully.

Estelle had long thick dark blonde hair as a little girl and I remember her having it tied up in piggy tails with multi-coloured ribbons – even as a little girl she was particular about things matching and being just so. Estelle also suffered from Asthma as a child and I remember her being whisked away to hospital during the night after having an asthma attack – being so young I was very frightened for her. That fear returned and was just as strong and frightening when I realized that Estelle’s place of work had collapsed in the earthquake.

There was six years between us I was always in a different school to her and by the time she had reached her teens I had gone to England and so there is a lot of time when I didn’t see much of her growing up. I do recall a conversation when at the tender age of 16 she had determined her personal style “sophisticated with a touch of elegance but with a natural look”. We all thought that hilarious at the time but true to form – that was the woman she became.

There are so many words to describe Estelle. She was meticulous, fastidious, committed, loyal, hilarious, and an amazing communicator. Smart, insightful, soft hearted. She was a list writer, was constantly doing a budget and always had a plan – it’s hard to know where to stop when describing Estelle.

In the last six months Estelle was the happiest I had known her to be. She was loved and in love and she and Jacob had great plans for the future. Hayley and I are just torn apart at losing you Estelle and not seeing you fulfill your hopes and dreams. We will look after Jacob, Shadow and Rosie – they are our family whether you are here in body or not. We know you will be worried about them.

Three weeks prior to losing Estelle, she and Jacob joined Hayley, myself and our families for the most fabulous “kiwi summer holiday” in the Marlborough Sounds. We had such good times. We ate well, drank well, played nicely. Estelle had some really good quality time with her nephews and niece. They loved their Auntie Stellie and telling them they won’t see her again has been horrendous. The weather on our holiday was outstanding and Estelle learnt how to kneeboard and man she was a tough chick. Justin my husband had given her the “how to kneeboard 101” talk and she was off. Hayley and I watched as she bounced all over the bay convinced she was going to come off any second and then you could see her suddenly straighten up and then she was flying ! where most people would fall off, Estelle’s steely determination wouldn’t let her. She remembered her instructions, put them into practice and was looking like she had been doing it all her life in no time. Being towed around on the biscuit took a little less skill but again she never came off and the grin on her face when she came into the beach was priceless and a memory I will hold with me forever.

When I waved her goodbye on February 8th I had no idea that would be the last time I would see my baby sister. When I reflect on that time now, I have to wonder if that was the universes last gift to us – a week of precious, precious memories.

The realization that Estelle was in the PGC building was one of the worst moments of my life. The time until we found her worse than that and saying our goodbyes, knowing that she will never make me cry with laughter again is gut wrenching. Her quick wit, intelligence and sense of humour was something I always admired. Her sense of the ridiculous was infectious and so often we would just not be able to stop laughing about the most inane things. I will really miss that.

I don’t know if I’ll ever understand why Estelle had to be taken away from us. We all needed her in our lives and the empty space in my heart is just cavernous.

Facing the future without her seems unimaginable but as with all things, we will endure and I know in time the pain will lessen.

My darling, beautiful, funny, smart, talented sister – I used to be so afraid of dying but I’m not scared anymore because I know now that when the day comes I will see you again.

My heart is hurting, my soul is wounded but I will remember you everyday for the rest of my life.

Rest easy darling girl. I love you.

From Michaela Pinkney

My dearest Estelle

Never in my thoughts did I ever imagine I would be doing this today. I am absolutely heartbroken that you are no longer with us.

Estelle you know I have always loved and cared for you as a sister.

I feel so blessed to have known you since the day you were born. Our parents were close friends which meant that we got to grow up together. We have so many precious memories throughout our 32 years of friendship that I will now cherish forever.

I remember when we were young girls, the first night we had a sleepover at my house. Our families had been at the beach that day and we both begged our parents for more time together. In the end they gave in and we were so excited. From then on, sleepovers were a regular occurrence with our parents taking turns of driving us all over town to see each other. In our late teens Liz and I would drive out west to pick Estelle up on a Friday afternoon and we’d take off on our road trips belting out our favourite solid gold classics such as ‘California Dreaming’, ‘The Rose’ and ‘Father and Son’ to name a few.

Estelle always kept me updated on her family’s lives and well being. She is an extremely proud aunty and would excitedly share the news when Melissa and Hayley were pregnant. She would send photos of Isla, Flynn and Riley and she was very much looking forward to the arrival of Hayley and Rhys’ second baby girl.

I spoke to Estelle the week before the earthquake. Jacob and Estelle’s life plans were falling into place. They had sold their house, bought a section and were about to start building a beautiful family home together. Babies were on the cards for this year. She told me she’d had an amazing holiday with Jacob, Hayley, Melissa and the family. It was clear to me that she was completely happy with her life.

Estelle is a beautiful person, very strong, caring, generous, committed, kind, and intelligent, she showed maturity beyond her years. She always knew her mind, was level headed, and I can honestly say she is one of the funniest people I know and you were guaranteed a very hearty laugh whenever Estelle was around.

Estelle you are a true friend. One that I have trusted to tell anything and everything to. You know some of my secrets that perhaps no one else will ever know. You have made a huge impact on my life, and the lives of my family, and I know that you have helped to define the person that I am today.

I am left in so much pain and turmoil. I know that my world is a much lesser place without you.

But my words don't even begin to convey the deep sadness and heartbreak that I am feeling for you. Your life has been taken away too soon. Losing you is a tragedy and one of lives cruellest blows.

You will be deeply missed by so many.

I am proud to call you my friend.

Estelle, I love you

Thursday, 24 March 2011

From Joanna Miller

Estelle, 'Stellie' our wonderful friend, one of a kind, a person who has entered one's life and it's become richer and fuller and more wonderful than you ever thought it could be. Everyone will have their own quirky and special memories of our gorgeous Stellie.

We met in Dunedin, where we flatted together, the Highgate girls were formed, Estelle, Genevieve, Janice and I, we all became great friends. One day we decided to brighten up the Highgate flat to match who lived there. We repainted the rooms in bright colours: Lounge, yellow, Genevieve's, green and that suited our Irish friend Janice that moved in later. Mine, red and Estelle's sky blue, fresh and calm and not a thing out of place. You know how every house has a smell, well Highgate not only smelt of Estelle's great perfume collection but also her Febreze fabric freshener when Stellie was on one of her many cleaning frenzies. Stellie was the first person I met that hung up all her T-shirts, and she had a lot. She was always a smart dresser and took pride in her appearance.

Estelle had a love for shoes and fashion. She worked at Glasson's and Barefoot during her student years which was a perfect match for her lay-by addiction.
Stellie was very committed to her university life. I remember one icy morning seeing her put on woolley socks over the top of her shoes so she wouldn't slip down the highgate hill. Other people would have stayed at home.

I will always treasure the fun times, the large Absolute vodkas and glasses of Sauvignon wine we had together and living normal day to day life.

After both of us having experienced OE's at different times we came to live in Christchurch to be closer to our families. We played social netball and touch together, lots of fun with a very competitive edge. I will miss our lunchtime Chai Latte's and catch up's. It made me giggle when she would get out her diary and tick off 'meet Joey for lunch' then she would remember she had done another job that morning but it wasn't written down so she would write it in, then tick it off, priceless.

One special memory was when I won a Hanmer Springs competition for two, I took Stellie. We got pampered, stayed at The Heritage, had pizza and wine and even played poker, perfect weekend. Another time away was the Hokitika Wild Food Festival great time camping, crazy foods, great beer and awesome company. These are just a few happy memories but there are plenty more.

It was exciting seeing Estelle and Jacob's relationship blossom. We loved hearing of your big plans together. I am grateful that you found true love with Jacob.

Stellie you have a strong beautiful spirit within you. I have seen many of your strengths. I appreciate your wisdom, courage, brilliant sense of humour, wit and loving nature.

Stellie it is time to say goodbye to a wonderful friend but I know you will always be with us.

Love you gorgeous girl x

From Craig Edwards

I knew Estelle through my partner Michaela and found her to be warm, caring, quick with a smile and a laugh. A person that always made you feel happy to be in her company. I was lucky enough to spend time with her wherever we were in the world be it New Zealand, Australia or the UK. I knew that Estelle & Michaela had that most precious of commodities, true friendship. Estelle was a constant. The friends that was always there to share the latest news, provide a sympathetic ear or whatever was required. As Michaela and I built our life together we always expected that Estelle would be a part of it.

Having now heard from those that knew her best Estelle was everything that I knew her to be and more to so many people. She bought happiness and laughter to so many. A tragic loss, she'll be sorely missed but never forgotten.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

From Ian Martin

Azza and I first met Estelle when she was Jacobs flatmate, we both knew there was a spark between them straight away and I think we both tried to give Jake a subtle (or not so subtle) nudge to say 'Go For It!'.

Estelle was always so positive and I don't think I recall her ever getting stressed of flustered, if she did she must have had the best poker face.

Estelle's sense of humour was a bit hit and miss at times. Some of the jokes she told were very funny and witty and some of them were ummm not.

Then one night our lives changed forever, begrudgingly and with a little encouragement from Jake she revealed her 'Seasons Greetings' joke. It was bloody hilarious and still makes me laugh. Just recently a friend of ours who had never met Estelle asked what she was like. I told her how lovely and caring she was and how she loved her jokes. I told the Seasons Greetings joke to a room of people who had never heard it before and everyone laughed damn hard. It will be nice to know that she made people laugh and smile even though she had never met them.

We think that you and Jake would have been the greatest parents. When you said that you were going to start a family in the near future I was so excited for you both and for Azza. I know the joy that being an Uncle can bring (9 times myself) and we were both looking forward to being the sort of Uncles that would bring the noisiest presents we could find!!

Aaron and I will miss you Estelle. You brought so much happiness into our life.

Lots of love Azza, Ian and Billie

From Amy Scott

Hi there,

I met gorgeous Estelle through our beautiful friend Jo Miller.


We had a weekend together at the Hokitika Wild Food Festival in 2006.

She was such a gorgeous person - and I just wanted to share these photos with you all - and send you big hugs...

I am devastated by the loss of Estelle as I'm sure many many others are... She was such a shining bright light.

I kept up to date with Estelle's happenings through Jo and was soo excited for her when I heard about her finding a wonderful man.

I hope that you get some comfort from knowing that people all over the world and NZ are thinking of you all at this tragic time...and are sending lots of love and hugs.

take care

lots of love

Amy Scott

From Courtney McHugh

Just found this pic of Stelly on St Paddy's day - seeing as it's st paddy's day tomorrow thought it might be fitting :-)

It was before she met you Jake and when I'd just met nige. Not the best photo but unfortunately the only one I have - got too drunk to take any more :-)