Posted in:

Mary Potter Hospice and the man with the big voice

26082015 Supplements Photo:John Nicholson//Fairfax NZ. Johnson family, Orion, Jack  and 6 week old baby Jaklyn

Jack Johnson had a big heart, an amazing voice, and a beautiful daughter Jacklyn who spent the first three months of her life with her dad while he was at Mary Potter Hospice.

According to Jack’s wife Orion, she was the perfect baby. “She was everything you want in a baby. She would cry when she was hungry or when she needed to be changed. Otherwise she would just sleep on her daddy’s puku.”

Orion said she gave Jack a huge amount of pleasure in his final few weeks.

Jacklyn was Orion and Jack’s fourth child. “We went on a late honeymoon. We were told that because of the chemo we couldn’t have more kids, but we were blessed with this little girl. They all look like him but she was right on point. Looked just like him.”

Jack’s other children are Ramu, Camryn and Lydia.

26082015 Supplements Photo:John Nicholson//Fairfax NZ. Johnson family, Orion, Jack and 6 week old baby Jaklyn
26082015 Supplements Photo: John Nicholson//Fairfax NZ. Johnson family, Orion, Jack and 6 week old baby Jacklyn

Jack and his family became well-loved and known at Mary Potter Hospice. First Jack received care at home in Porirua from the Hospice community team. But as he was a big man with complex needs he spent his final weeks in the inpatient unit.

“I was busy looking after my husband and when he moved in to the Hospice I was reminded I had to look after myself as well. I was induced at about 37 weeks so Jack could get to know Jacklyn. Jack had about three months with her,” says Orion.

“I was at Mary Potter Hospice the whole time, spent every minute with him. Hospice was the best place for him.  He could get care and equipment that we couldn’t get at home. It was a huge help for me too. I got counselling, massage therapy, child care, and lots of support at home before he moved into hospice as well.

Jack had a big sense of humour and singing was his passion. “He entered Karaoke competitions and won most of them.  He inspired people with his singing. He sounded like Prince Tuiteka. Jack would leave the Hospice when he had the energy and come up with a plan to go singing. He could be sick as, but he’s still go singing.”

Orion said it was very hard for her to see him sick. “But when he was at Mary Potter Hospice and he had pain, even just a little bit, they’d say ‘don’t worry Jack, we got you covered’.”

Jack died before Christmas last year, just hours before his 34th birthday.