When I say the word Gold digger I think most of us would picture a money hungry person that would stoop to whatever means necessary to get their hands on it. We have all seen the young buxom blondes who purposely pursue wealthy men that are old enough to be their grandfathers. They plead their genuine love for their victims, but they’re not fooling anyone, except the poor guy who is half deaf and blind and already loosing his marbles.
People pursue wealth as if it will bring the fulfillment they longingly desire, while failing to realize that it can also produce some of the loneliest times you’ll ever have. They look for gold in all the wrong places.
I recently attended the funeral of a 45 year old friend that I have known for over 20 years. It wasn’t a sad and morbid occasion like most funerals, although she will be greatly missed. On many accounts it was a relief to see her suffering end. For years I and many others had watched our best friend deteriorate and fight for her life. She had a rare autoimmune disease similar to Lupus that was unrelenting for 15 years and gradually killing off her body. Every time I saw her she had lost the use of another bodily function.
She has been my inspiration for most of my life. Her life is one of courage and strength and overcoming the odds.
Her story is the one that ignited a fire in me at a young age to fight for the freedom of women.
She has faced abusive relationships, addictions and eating disorders head on and triumphantly conquered them all. She has shared her story of freedom all throughout Australia and inspired many to overcome their trials. Books have been written about her, other people have told stories about her.
Her life has inspired me to champion broken and marginalized women around the world as she pioneered the way.
She lived with more limitations than I care to even imagine yet I never once heard her complain. In all her 15 years of suffering, I never heard her complain. She would push herself beyond limits to enjoy whatever aspects of life she was able to. I know that sounds like an impossibility but I too am just in awe of the strength of this woman.
If you were to ask me how is it she stayed so positive under such dire circumstances, I would say she learnt how to dig for the gold in the dirt.
This picture is the last time that I saw her and it was just 3 months before she died. She was looking deathly sick and thin, she wasn’t able to cope with a long visit yet she spent the entire time asking me about our life. Every time I asked her about her situation, she would always turn it around so that we were telling her our news. She was living her life through our stories, she was digging for the gold in the dirt.
I remember many times when I was still living in England and heard that she had needed an emergency operation. I would phone and talk to her in her hospital bed expecting to hear all her moans and groans but instead I would only ever hear of the things that set her heart alight.
Every day she would dig for the gold in the soil.
She would find joy in the encouragement she was able to give to the people in the beds next to her, the flowers she would receive from a caring friend, the visit from her parents, the phone call from me on the other side of the world, the surprise of her doctors when she would be so positive in such bleak circumstances. She brought so much joy and courage to other people. She would rarely talk of the immense pain and discomfort she was in.
She has taught me that, no matter how bleak things look, how hard things get, there are always things to be grateful for even if we have to dig deep for it.
She taught me that when you look for the gold in every situation then you will find your freedom no matter what chains restrain you.
If I could use her life to redefine the word gold digger then it would be this: ‘A person who knows how deep you need to dig to find the location of what is truly valuable in life’ Jenni Fairbairn you were the greatest gold digger I have ever known. May you now rest in peace and enjoy your freedom.