Sunset – Sunrise

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Man, this is hard. I don’t know how to write this. I just have to put one word in front of another. Eunie was one of those people who you feel like will be around forever. We know it’s not true, but we don’t want to think about not having her.

Yesterday morning, after only a couple of hours of discomfort, she asked for some stronger pain relief. Shortly afterwards she fell asleep and her breathing calmed and she was peaceful. Not long after that, her spirit departed her body.

It has been only a few weeks that we have known that Eunie was seriously ill. Eunie feared few things in life. She was one the most fiercely brave people I have ever known. She did not, however, want to have anything at all to do with pain. The fact that she left us so peacefully and without pain was a blessing to us all.

So, Eunie’s sunset in now complete. The lightning in the image above represents her amazing spirit.

After every sunset, there is another sunrise. This is the way the world turns. So it is with the spirit, as I believe. If I did not believe so, I would not be able to carry on. I carry on now because of this promise and because to falter and waste away would be a dishonour to Eunie.

Eunie’s sunrise must be truly glorious.

I have no more words for now. I don’t know what the next few days will bring. Hans is going back to his family in Canada tomorrow morning. I have my remaining support team here with me – Marg and Mick Horwood tonight at their house and Val Jerram, Rich Jones and Carol Dover who will be travelling to Gympie with me to Val’s home.

Sometime next week I will return to Madang. I both long for and dread it. I’ve never felt such conflicting emotions. To those in Madang:  you are getting back a shell of a man, but I have no fear that all will be well after a while. Life for me will never be “normal” – as it seemed before. I have to hang onto the hope that there will be a new sunrise for me.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I was stunned to see that there were 28 comments waiting for me this morning. I can’t possibly answer each one, but I do read every one.

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63 Responses to “Sunset – Sunrise”

  1. Kent Mundhenk Says:

    I know your wife… through your eyes, through your words. I was so looking forward to getting to know such a wonderful lady when we will be there next month. Now I will never get the chance. My loss is what was to be. Your loss… I cannot imagine. She was such a wonderful lady that all who knew her, and all who hoped to know her, truly miss her.

    I am praying that God, He would be your comfort. That He would wrap his arms arond you and that you would feel Him hold you close as you mourn.

    When I say I am sorry, I truly mean it.

  2. Nancy McDonald Says:

    God bless you Uncle Arnie. We all loved her so and she will always be with us in our hearts. The memories these last two weeks have made me smile through the tears. At least now I know she is calm and in peace in the place where we all will join her in Gods time. I thank you for all of your words (this one is glorious). Please know we love you and our love is always with you.

  3. Kate Says:

    Jan – What an amazing legacy that in many corners of the world today, there is a gasping intake of breath as your blog as read. In many corners of the world today, eyes are filling with tears. Tears at your loss. Tears at our loss. Disappointment that she has been taken Home because that means she is no longer here, with you, with us.
    Oh, Jan……Sorry is the most useless word….

  4. Jack & Evelyn Says:

    Our hearts are with you at this time. Wish we were closer so we could help out. We love you and will continue to keep you in our prayers

  5. Cameron Says:

    It is with deep sadness and personal grief in my heart, that I write this to you following the passing of your beloved Eunie. I share with you the terrible sadness and feeling of emptiness you must be feeling at this time. I will remember Eunie as someone larger than life itself and someone also who was a precious gift not only to you but to her Madang community.
    Eunie, may you be blessed with eternal life and love, and remain in our hearts forever. Jan may you find the inner strength to carry on and find your new sunrise.

  6. Dan Says:


    You are in my prayers. I am at the JAARS facility in NC. I was looking forward to seeing the two of you again. I’ll just have to wait a little longer to see Eunie. I will have a lot of others praying for you as well.


  7. Juliet Forte Sienzant Says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I am halfway around the world and I am feeling this with you.
    Someone came up to me at work today and handed me the words to a song…’I feel like i’m swimming straight up underwater, desperately racing for air, I’m racing for air”. This is what I am thinking and feeling now.
    You will surface and find joy and peace once again.
    God bless you, those you love and all who love you. Eunie will be with you always.

  8. ZydecoDoug Says:

    “Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.”
    Rabindranath Tagore

  9. Fay Christensen Says:

    My heart breaks for you, Jan. For Eunie, I know she is enjoying her sunrise on the other and better side of life. I’m glad for her. But I’m praying every day for you and all the people who loved her. she was such a loving and dependable person and the memories of her are sweet. I pray that God will comfort and strengthen you for this separation.
    With love

  10. Susie Messersmith Says:

    Jan, Hans, Tamara and girls……I just sit down to the computer and loged on to your journal. No words can express how sorry I am. I know what you are going thru right now and there are no words that can comfort you right now.
    Jan, our lives and marriages were totally different in most ways. One thing that all four of us have is our love for God and our Savior Jesus Christ. Also, the love that you and Eunie shared and the love that Randy and I shared. Your love and memories of Eunie will keep you going. It will take a while to get your wits back and the pain will wain with time. You will go thru allot of different types of emotions, this is normal. Please don’t let yourself shut down. Eunie woiuld want you to go on with her love and strength in your heart.
    You all have so many people that love you and are praying for you. I know this may sound shallow, but if there is anything at all I can do, please let me know.
    Love from the heart thru Christ,

  11. Pam and Gary Says:

    My tears flow at your deep loss Jan and also our great sadness at losing such an amazing friend. We praise God for a gentle and peaceful completion of a wonderful life lived to the full. The sunset is just so Eunie and we know too that you sunrise will come one day. Joy will return though it will never be the same without you special girl. She will always live in your heart and on your arm.
    Much love and comforting HUGS
    Pam and Babe

  12. Emily Says:

    My heart is breaking for you and my prayers are constant for you and Hans and family. I smile when I think of Eunie preparing the party in heaven for when the day comes for us to join her though. I can’t think of anybody more capable of making sure that will happen than her. I am praying that God will send his spirit of comfort and strength on you in the next few weeks of adjustments. I will be waiting in Madang with hugs for you.
    Love you much,

  13. Chris Urton Says:

    Amen, Fay.
    Love you Jan.

  14. Carolyn Says:

    Words seem so silly right now but I am so glad you found yours to write your beautiful post Jan. Your bravery is truly inspirational and aspirational. Obviously your courage comes from eternal love for Eunie. All the very best Jan. Carolyn

  15. Rick Loftus, M.D. Says:

    Jan, I will always be grateful for what you and Eunie shared will all of us. I’ve cried a few times these last few weeks, thinking about you both. Hang in there. Blessings, -Rick

  16. Mark and Steve Lockie Says:

    I’ve just read of Eunice’s passing and wish to convey sincere condolences to you and your loves ones from all the Lockie Family.
    We all remember with fondness our time in Madang with you all and of Eunice’s zest for life. Madang will also be the poorer with her loss. Keep strong I know that is what she would have wished

  17. Steve Bennett Says:


  18. Helen Jones Says:

    The words that everyone who has been following this journey have been dreading, but the reality is such. Jan, it is you that now has to cope without your beloved Eunie and that we cannot begin to imagine. Your friends in Madang will be an overwhelming support to you upon your return, they will be desperate to have you back so that they can help. It is impossible to say anything further. We just offer our thoughts and love Helen & Martinxx

  19. Andrew/Juanita Barter Says:

    Our sincere condolences our thoughts are with you Jan.Regards Andrew& Juanita

  20. UncaDoug Says:

    Jan, so sorry … I’m sad … mixed feeling reading back through your journal. It is a gift, thank you. You are wise and expressive, and someone we can lean on … in your tragedy. “I long for the past, but I know that life is now in the process of changing to something else – something unknowable. We always fear the unknown.” Peace, Brother … with you in spirit.

  21. Weast Says:

    Hi MadDog,

    I read this earlier in the day but I just didn’t know what to say. Times like these leave even the most talkative of us speechless.

    I have never meet you or Eunie, but having been a regular follower of your blog for over a year now, I have grown a sense of admiration for both of you.

    Like Kate said above.. “sorry is the most useless word” at this time but it is what come to mind.

    Eunie is in the true Paradise that we who are left behind strive for.

    Please take care



  22. Sue Fletcher Says:

    Possibly keeping in your heart and mind what you know Eunice wants for you will give you more strength than any single thing. The help that love from your friends and family bring are immeasurable.

  23. Dave Butts Says:

    Jan, Like so many others, we are praying for you and your family. I will always remember the weeks I spent with you and Eunice in PNG. May the Lord’s peace guard your heart in the days ahead.

  24. David Rolls Says:


    I am sorry that Eunice has left this/your world, I am deeply moved by your personal loss in your life and soul, I cannot fully understand your loss, but I do so hope you will return to your former person, we all know that time can be the only healer ….

    I am somewhat pleased for Eunice, Yourself and family that she departed peacefully, the sun always rises as you say ….. its our shining light of hope and glory…. please keep focused on health and life, as I am sure many friends will be there for you…….
    Im really moved mate ……….
    I hope your return to Madang with Eunices ashes will allow you too move on ….. in time, to find peace and continue to enjoy your life to full……..
    with deepest respect …… David x

    I barely know you from my brief month in Madang and the trip we made on your boat

  25. Heather Says:

    The most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen happen in Madang. I know that every beautiful morning you see will be Eunie’s love reaching out for you.

  26. kristy Says:

    Continued prayers for you and your family as you learn how to live this new life.

  27. Paul Reinbara Says:

    Jan my friend,

    I am so sorry for your loss, it is with my deepest regret not knowing you both personally but I found great joy in learning about the everyday life challenges you have in Madang. Poro mi sori tumas na mi askim God Papa long helpim yu long dispela time.

    Paul Reinbara

  28. Karen Denison Says:

    Oh Jan, my heart is just breaking for you. You have many friends with you physically and many more with you virtually. I hope you allow the love and support into your life right now. It does help to lean on others at this time. Eventually the pain does lessen and you will find a different life and journey. That’s life and it’s always changing. You were very fortunate to have a love and life with Eunice. Not many of us will have that kind of love. Please know that I will be thinking and praying for your in the next days and weeks to come.

  29. Chuck Salmon Says:

    Arnie, We weep with you. Absolutely confident of Eunie’s present bliss, we mourn your loss with you and will keep you 9n our prayers..Our love goes with you. BIL Chuck

  30. Alex Talmon-l'Armée Says:

    Dear Jan, I have no words, just tears. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Alex

  31. Steve Goodheart Says:

    My dear, dear friend, I am so very sorry for your loss. You gave me, and many around the world who only know you through your blog, a wonderful glimpse of a great, great soul (mahatma) and through your eyes of love, we too loved your dear wife, and feel a loss.

    I have learned many deep things in my path, and one of them is that birth is not something out of nothing and death is not something into nothing, but rather, both are a continuation. I know your dear Eunie continues on, and is buoyed by all our love for her, and of course, your dear Father’s love for her. The heart connection is forever; death cannot touch it.

    My Sarah also send her great love and care to you, and her gratitude for what knowing you and Eunie, even from a distance, (though the heart knows nothing of distance), has meant to me.

    You are a good man, Jan Messersmith. Don’t let the shadow of death obscure this in any way. I am honored to know you.


  32. Bobby Wrenn Says:

    There are no words.

    You said it best and it is only one word


    We live in the wonderful hope of our own sunrise. Then there will be no more night.


  33. Sue Ellen & Bobby Wrenn Says:

    Jan, The passion and poetry of your posts are beautiful as you write about Eunice. Your tender love for one another is wonderful to read about, and I can only image the depth of your loss. I’m so very sorry you must go through this…please know that you are in our prayers.

    Sue Ellen and Bobby

  34. Anita&Wouter Says:

    Jan, our thoughts are with you.

  35. Robert Says:


    I’ve been here bro… just reading… and listening.

    This morning – I read your post and couldn’t help but shed a tear with you. I cry as I write this… it triggers my own pain of loss. All along I had fingers crossed that Eunie would somehow recover and life for the two of you would go back to normal. Life unfolds as it unfolds – so be it. Even though we have never met in person – I feel that I know you – my heart and compassion are today all your’s bro.

    Always a place for you to crash in Lae.


  36. Alison Hughes Says:

    Jan, I cannot imagine what you are going thru, Bill and i are very saddened by Eunies passing. I would just like to say hold on to all your memories, and let them guide you thru this time of sadness
    We are thinking of you . with deepest sympathy
    You are in our thoughts, and hearts
    ali & Bill

  37. Jake Says:

    I don’t know you and Eunie personally but having followed your wonderful, sometimes hilarious posts, everyday for maybe a year now, I feel I have come closer to knowing you – many times it is the first thing I get to read before getting down to business.

    I know I too will have to go thru the same loss one day – loosing my one beautiful wife. I just hope that I can express it the way you have done through your blog.

    Like its said above – ‘sorry’ just does not say it all.

    If ever you visit Samarai Island just ask for Jake DaDog, I’ll be happy to take you around the many islands.

    Peace be with you………

    PS. I hope to meet you in person some day in Madang and most hopefully get to see your bike.

  38. Jan & Allan Fletcher Says:

    Jan, we haved followed your daily blog over the last few weeks and it has been inspirational how you have put your soul on the line for us all to share your journey with Eunice at this time. We were sad beyound words to hear of her passing – it all seems too unreal at how quickly things progressed. We remember back to our time in Madang and the great times we all shared. I will particularly remember with great fondness my special Friday lunches with Enice at Coastwatches for our weekly catchup. She will always be remembered as a wonderful, caring and loving person with a wonderful sense of fun. Our thoughts are with you along with all your friends. Keep your wonderful blog going – we feel as if we are part of your life with your fabulous photos we can share and your insight into life itself. Love you Jan and thinking of you. Jan and Allan

  39. Martin Snook Says:

    Hi Jan,

    Kathy & I offer our sincere condolences. We KNOW that Eunice is in a better place. You both have been in our thoughts and prayers lately.

    Lots of love

    Martin & Kathy

  40. Ali Says:

    Dear Jan,
    We planted a beautiful tree for Eunie yesterday (a Lemon Scented Eucalypt) It is now in a forest that we have been creating here at Mt Beppo to give the parrots and the koalas a haven for times to come. I do hope that she would like that.
    It was planted with love and watered with our tears for your sorrow, but this is a tree of hope for the future.
    Please feel welcome here with Dave and at anytime Jan.
    Love to you.

  41. Laura Robinson Says:

    Oh, Jan–
    I just read this~I am so, so sorry! I guess that it all happened so fast is a blessing for Eunice–that she went without pain and suffering. I know now is the time for your pain. I pray it will be a healing time that will bring you closer to our God in Heaven, where we will one day see your precious wife again, only this time with a perfectly healthy body. I am praying for everyone who loved her, but especially you and Hans and the girls.

  42. Frank & Ros Beale Says:

    Dear Jan,
    Words are futile at times like this. They are so unable to really express our feeling both of our lives and your more deeply felt pain when part of you has been torn out and physically not there. We both know and are gratiful for Eunice in our lives. The memories remain.
    For you ‘I Frank’ have some inkling as I was torn apart when my wife died. All I can say is what you yourself said. There is a sunrise aftr a sunset and God seems to find ways to let us experience that even when we least expect it. Frank & Ros
    Our love to you and family

  43. Jim Davis Says:

    I have not felt this sad in a long long time. All of us are hurting with you…Keren has been in or near tears all day, and Cindy and I have talked and cried for you. Eunice definitely knows no pain no, nor sadness, nor tears…we hurt for you my friend. One day we will meet again. Love you much my brother,

  44. Tom Clark Says:

    Hi Jan, I don’t know what to say.. I am in total shock. I pray that those around you help you to feel the Lord. Eunice was a remarkable woman and Shain and I are just wondering what will happen next in your life. You have always been supportive of me and I always felt the same for you and Eunice and that will never change. I hope some day we can get together again. Know that Shain and I love you.

  45. Keith & Sherri Ferstl Says:

    You have shared so much beauty with us. Thank you for having shared another Beauty. We’ll be watching sunrises and thinking of Eunie here in Florida.
    Take your time…

    Our love to you,
    Keith & Sherri Ferstl
    Tampa, FL

  46. Adam Dwyer Says:

    Maddog, was shocked to see the notice in todays paper, and can only remember that absolute admiration you publicly expressed for Eunice, the Remington team is truely saddened by the news, keep strong.

  47. Bill Kramer Says:

    Jean and I are would like to pass our sincere condolence. Thanks for the memories in Madang.
    Bill & Jean

  48. Kate (Laurens, Matilda and Freddie) Says:

    Hey Jan,
    I am so sorry. Such a huge loss – especially to Madang and even more so for you. Eunie was one of the fiercest optimists I’ve ever met – and reading your comments re the sunrise it seems you are too. Hang in there – and please keep writing. Your posts have been amazing in their eloquence. Kate (and Laurens, Matilda and Freddie)

  49. Walt Says:

    Dear Jan, please accept my sincere condolences. Although I’ve never met you or Eunie, your writing gave us a glimpse of what a remarkable person she was, and how fortunate you were to share the life you had together. May you eventually find peace and acceptance.

  50. Ken & Vicki Tirey Says:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you now. It’s going to be so hard for you, but I know she’s very happy where she’s at now. Dwell on all those wonderful years that you had together. I will think of her when I see the sunset tonight.

  51. Dorothy & Brian Lusmore Says:

    Dear Jan, You have both been in our thoughts and prayers constantly during the last week and we are so sad to hear of Eunie’s passing. We remember with love all the years in Madang from her first arrival and how she gradually reached out in so many different ways and to so many different people. She will truly be missed and we ache for you at this time. Love, Dorothy & Brian

  52. MadDog Says:

    Thanks, Jake. A reader in Samarai – interesting. I am completely gutted now, but I can but trust that someday life will seem brighter. I would love to take you up on your offer at Samarai and please do look me up if you get to Madang. – Jan

  53. MadDog Says:

    To all of my readers who commented on this post.

    I am sad that I am simply unable to reply individually to all of your messages which, at present, number fifty-two. As you can imagine, I’m hardly in a condition to do so and there are many pressing matters to which to attend. I have read them all and am astounded by the caring that is shown in them. I’ve tried to spread a lot of love and joy here for the last three years. It’s a warm feeling to have some coming back. Eunie is smiling down on us all.


  54. rea Says:

    friend, stay stronger god knows for the sake of your wife..

  55. rea Says:

    I know she’s very happy where she’s at now.
    Be strong Okey…….my Im here for you…

  56. MadDog Says:

    Thank you Rea, for both of your kind comments.

  57. Trevor Says:

    my thoughts are with you.

  58. Adam Beasley Says:

    Eunice was a gem! Your admiration and love for her are wonderful to read – thanks for being open and sharing, but the raw hurt and the fond memories. I always enjoyed coming to your apartment in Madang, playing with Hans, you guys had the most interesting music. Eunice was full of love, hugs and also didn’t beat around the bush when it was necessary. Know that my prayers are with you.

  59. MadDog Says:

    Thank you, Trevor. A lot of good people are very sad that Eunie is no longer with us. I’m back in Madang. I’ve set the goal for myslef of feeling better a year from now. I think that it is possible. It’s going to be baby steps.

  60. MadDog Says:

    Ah, yes, Adam, we did have the music! Some of it was frowned upon by others, if you know what I mean. thanks for your prayers. I’ll keep it honest.

  61. Liz Says:

    Dear Jan, i was astounded to come across your truly amazing blog this evening. I was in Madang some years ago, and have such fond memories of you and Eunie. I am so sad to read of Eunie’s passing and send you my sincere condolensces. She, like you touched me during my time in Madang. My thoughts and all my prayers are with you.

  62. MadDog Says:

    Thanks very much, Liz, for your message. Eunie touched so many lives in such a wonderful way. I’m amazed at the number of messages which I have received. I am happy that you have fond memories of us.

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