On December 17th 2011 my very best friend, my sister – the most amazing person I know left this earth for a much better place.
My mother tells me that Lesley and I met when we were little babies at a Christmas party – but since I don’t remember that – it all started twenty-two years ago when we joined forces at Golden Steps Pre-School. We went through almost every level of school together and we were inseparable. Even when we were both going to different schools, when we met up it was as if we’d never been apart.
Mummy told me this morning that even though Lesley is gone we’ve been fortunate to have created such wonderful memories with her. And Mummy is right. Lesley wasn’t just my best friend, she was everyone’s best friend because Lesley’s one of those genuinely good people who you just couldn’t help but want to be her friend. She had a spirit ten times larger than she was and the most kind-hearted soul. I’m reading all the Facebook posts dedicated to her and they are all true. Lesley will always be a phenomenal individual.
I’ve been trying to think of the fondest memory I have with Lesley, but they’re all fond. We had such a great time together – all the birthday parties, Brownie camps, Kiddies Carnivals, Sports Days, sleep overs, and when we got older the fetes, complaining about projects and assignments at SGU – it would take forever and a day to write them all down.
Lesley was a fighter. She never let any obstacle stand in the way of her dreams. She did the shoes and socks race for Sports, we went to learn to swim class on the beach and she was getting her Master’s degree. Lesley had an inner strength that I’ve always admired. While writing this I stumbled on a video of Lesley delivering her speech for a public speaking class, Women with Disabilities, and while looking at it, I had the biggest smile on my face. Lesley you have been a role model, you have been a boat rocker.
To my Lez, I’m going to miss hearing “Hey Lyssa!” and hearing your laugh and seeing your smile. Going to miss your perfect handwriting that I was always jealous of. Going to miss asking Mummy if I could spend the night. Going to miss getting matching outfits every summer, yours the green and mine the pink. Going to miss pulling down the ramp in the van. Going to miss standing up in the parking lot talking for hours. Going to miss you laughing at my horrendous artwork in Fine Arts class. Going to miss taking our tradition pictures at Rex and carnival. Going to miss spending time in the verandah overlooking the Golf Course. Going to miss you Lez, but you’ll always be in my heart – you left one big footprint! Thank you for always being the best friend I could’ve ever asked for; I’m a better person for just having known you. You’ll be an awesome angel Lesley, you and Missy.
In April of this year, the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences asked me to present the Spirit of Lesley Williams Award. At first I was hesitant; would I be able to make it through the speech? But then I realized that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share the life and achievements of such an extraordinary person.
Lesley’s mom, Auntie Dorla, presented the award with me and it was an incredibly emotional moment for all of us, but fond memories of Lesley filled the room. While writing my little speech, I could hear Lesley saying, “make me sound good, k Lyssa.” Here’s an excerpt:
For those of us who knew Lesley, we knew her unbreakable spirit. Lesley showed us all what it meant to be strong. Lesley never gave up; she got the job done. You could count on Lesley for anything – to sing, to usher, to plan a party, or just be there supporting you. Lesley didn’t miss a beat, whether Sandblast, Unity Ball, or a potluck on Black Sand Beach, Lesley, the Friend Gatherer as she called herself, was there.