Well-loved teacher’s legacy will en­dure

Broome Advertiser - - News - Jakeb Wad­dell

Rani Mid­dle­ton Teacher Born 1984, Kim­ber­ley Died 2018, Queens­land

A young Broome teacher lost her year-long battle with can­cer ear­lier this month, but has left be­hind a legacy as a pas­sion­ate ed­u­ca­tor, hu­mor­ous friend and lov­ing mother.

Those who knew Rani Mid­dle­ton were shat­tered when she was di­ag­nosed with bowel can­cer last De­cem­ber and were un­able to com­pre­hend how some­thing so hor­rid could hap­pen to such a “beau­ti­ful soul”.

The St Mary’s Col­lege drama and English teacher re­mained op­ti­mistic as she fought the dis­ease, but her battle came to an end on Novem­ber 7, just three days af­ter turn­ing 34.

As an avid lover of words and the English lan­guage, Rani doc­u­mented her jour­ney through her blog, ti­tled Semi Colon, which would of­ten cause tears and laugh­ter among friends, fam­ily and even cu­ri­ous read­ers who had never met her.

Her hus­band Nathan Laird, who fin­ished the fi­nal chap­ter of Semi Colon af­ter Rani’s death, said he and his wife had cre­ated mem­o­ries that would never be for­got­ten.

“Rani will be re­mem­bered as an hon­est per­son with a sunny dis­po­si­tion, who was so pas­sion­ate about the work that she did,” he said.

“She was car­ing, lov­ing, but also the type of per­son that was so real and di­rect.

“Un­til her last day of life she re­mained so pos­i­tive.

“There is a fine line be­tween be­ing in de­nial and re­main­ing gen­uinely cen­tred and fo­cused.”

Nathan met Rani when they were five and two, re­spec­tively, and used to play to­gether as kids in Bidyadanga in the Kim­ber­ley.

They kept in touch even af­ter Rani moved to Queens­land with her fam­ily, but it was when he flew over to visit her in 2002 that the “sparks re­ally started to fly”.

The cou­ple moved to Broome to­gether and had been with each other for 11 years when they de­cided to get mar­ried.

In 2015, they had their first and only child to­gether, Ma­teo Laird, the fac­tor that made say­ing good­bye the hard­est for Rani.

“If there is any­thing that ever got to Rani men­tally, it was the idea of leav­ing her three-year-old be­hind — that is what made it so hard to let go,” Nathan said.

Work col­league and close friend Vicki Thomp­son said Rani’s per­son­al­ity was “in­fec­tious” from the sec­ond she greeted the young, eager teacher.

“When I first met her I thought she was ab­so­lutely per­fect and I was just wait­ing for her to crack but (she) never did,” she said.

“I have worked for 25 years and she was by far the best per­son I ever worked with.

“She had this unique trait where she just un­der­stood each and ev­ery per­son and lots of dif­fer­ent peo­ple from dif­fer­ent walks of life have said the same thing.

“We will never be able to un­der­stand why some­thing so in­sid­i­ous would hap­pen to such a young and beau­ti­ful soul, a per­son with so much to give.”

In a post to the school com­mu­nity, St Mary’s Col­lege said Rani was an “ex­cel­lent teacher, who with her tal­ents and knowl­edge in­spired her stu­dents to achieve out­stand­ing re­sults”.

“Her legacy re­mains with us, to know her was to love her,” the post said.

Rani’s fu­neral was held two weeks ago in Queens­land, but a ser­vice is ex­pected to be held in Broome in May.

Her blog can be viewed at me­and­my­semi­colon.word­press.com.

If there is any­thing that ever got to Rani men­tally, it was the idea of leav­ing her three-year-old be­hind. NathanLaird

Rani Mid­dle­ton dur­ing a photo shoot a few weeks be­fore her death.

Rani Mid­dle­ton with St Mary's Col­lege Broome stu­dents.

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