I cannot NOT write about losing Kevin Higgins and all that he meant to me. I was not the closest person to him on earth. That would no doubt be his wife Susan and Ziggo his ginger cat, his close friends and relatives, followed by fellow poets, followed by his students in Galway, followed by his online students of whom I was only one. In short Kevin was loved by many and as you could see from the many reactions in the days after his passing on 10 January, he will be missed by many.
For me his passing will become like the falling of the Wall; the crashing of the planes into the Twin Towers; and the day I heard we were moving country when I was nine, not from my parents but when the real estate agent who was selling our lovely house on the North Shore (NZ), asked me: "Are you looking forward to living in Holland?" I know exactly where I was on those days in reversed order: walking in the the garden with bespoke real estate agent and my mother; crying on the couch as my father had passed away just days before the planes struck into the Twin Towers; and scrolling though Facebook while waiting for a colleague to give me advice on an issue a customer had while working from home for Centraal Beheer, an insurance company.
And there it stood, Kevin had died. My first thoughts were for Susan and Ziggy, his ginger cat they were always posting about. And then I burst out crying. The colleague who finally answered my call, got to hear that a very close friend had passed away, that I knew he was ill but that he was trying another chemo and hopefully it would work out but it hadn't. I immediately corrected myself: Kevin was my poetry tutor, a mentor I had not even met in real life. All this I said in bits and bolts between tears.
"Just transfer your customer to me," the expert said, which is both so unheard of and typically no-nonsense Frisian and so very nice that I quickly did as he offered. And that's the thing about Kevin. Because although I had never met him, in the online workshops I took with him over four years, he had become so special to me that I did feel that he was a close friend. His reactions to all of our posts made you feel he got ya. His suggestions to me were always on point and his prompts were inspiring.
I have blogged about my poems and the workshop before. I will miss Kevin's prompts but I will keep his memory alive by continuing to write poetry, and I don't think a poem will go by without thinking what would Kevin say about this one?