Buck­ets of Love

Kapiti News - - Front Page - David Hax­ton

Para­pa­raumu Beach hair­dresser Shona Kramer has writ­ten a book, called Buck­ets of Love, which re­flects on her cher­ished life with hus­band Alex, his un­timely death, to the strug­gles and re­al­i­ties of los­ing some­one so spe­cial.

“It also reaches out to peo­ple who are griev­ing, to know that things they think or do, are nor­mal things.

“These days peo­ple kind of want you to move on re­ally quick, but you ac­tu­ally need the time to al­low your­self to grieve, it’s part of hu­man na­ture.”

Alex Kramer, 56, died last year af­ter a long bat­tle with can­cer. He was a well-loved fam­ily man as well as an ad­mired and in­flu­en­tial fig­ure in the Weta Work­shop and Weta Dig­i­tal com­pa­nies where he worked for 18 years.

The se­nior cam­era tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor worked on var­i­ous block­buster films such as The Lord of the Ring, King Kong, XMen3 and oth­ers.

Shona started writ­ing the book, which is in­ter­min­gled with her po­etry, af­ter he died, with his re­quest that he wanted her to help peo­ple fresh in her mind.

With the book com­plete, she wants to do mo­ti­va­tional speak­ing, not from a coun­sel­lor point of view, but sim­ply from her ex­pe­ri­ences.

“Like I say in the book, I feel like I’ve got a de­gree in grief, with­out go­ing to univer­sity to get it, and I don’t know why it was

chucked my way but it was, and if I can help other peo­ple with that...”

Shona says grief is like be­ing in the worst maze of your life.

“There is no exit in sight and you turn this way and that but the wall is too high to climb.

“The hedges are just too dense to break through.

“Your mind is just a to­tal mixup of a man­gled mess and thoughts with no real con­nec­tion.

“You do things but you don’t know why you are do­ing them,” she says.

And you don’t come out of

grief as the per­son you went in as, she writes.

“You are dif­fer­ent in all ways. “You have thoughts and re­al­i­ties that hit you like a brick.”

Sim­ple things, like su­per­mar­ket shop­ping was tough, in the early days, as she had al­ways shopped for two.

“I apol­o­gise now to any of the poor pub­lic who saw the sniv­el­ling woman awash with cas­cad­ing tears try­ing to hold it to­gether.”

Even 15 months on, heart­strings could be pulled as she walked through the aisles and saw his favourite OV drink, Dutch al­mond fin­gers, or Knights liquorice.

Or walk­ing through Farm­ers and see­ing a gar­ment Alex would have liked felt like a “pitch­fork to the heart”.

Peo­ple who have suf­fered grief go into a dys­func­tional mode to sur­vive, she be­lieves.

“The body in some way just shuts down as a process of ab­sorb­ing what has hap­pened.

“And this be­comes slowly, over time, more real.”

Even­tu­ally life does get bet­ter in­clud­ing a re-eval­u­a­tion of your life.

“Life is about love, em­pa­thy and com­pas­sion, and learn­ing as much as you can.

“It’s about ex­pe­ri­enc­ing as much as you can.

“It’s also about treat­ing peo­ple as you would wish to be treated.”

Shona launched her book at her hair­dress­ing sa­lon, Hair on Ma­clean, on Satur­day.

“Alex built the sa­lon for me so I thought it was ap­pro­pri­ate to have the book launch there.”

Ten per cent of book sales are go­ing to Mary Pot­ter Hospice Welling­ton.

Copies of the book, $30 each, are avail­able from Hair on Ma­clean, 55 Ma­clean St, Para­pa­raumu Beach, or on Ama­zon.com.

I apol­o­gise now to any of the poor pub­lic who saw the sniv­el­ling woman awash with cas­cad­ing tears try­ing to hold it to­gether.

Shona Kramer

PHOTO / DAVID HAX­TON

Shona Kramer with her book Buck­ets of Love. She cre­ated the art­work for the cover.

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