Dear Andrey, Denny and Gigi
I wanted to add my words to those already shared by so many others. Thank you for creating the website and sharing all the lovely tributes and photos. Maria has touched so many people’s lives in different ways – what a wonderful lady she was and her legacy lives on in all of you.
It’s hard to know what to add that’s hasn’t already been so well said but so many others, but firstly I wanted to send you my deepest condolences. Maria and I worked together at incite learning – she talked about the three of you often and we shared stories of parenting two girls. We spoke at length about secondary schools last year when I was trying to decide where to send my eldest daughter and she always shared updates with us of your exam/university/work. I’ve really enjoyed looking at the occasional pictures that used to pop up on her Facebook page of you all in Xmas jumpers or out for a swanky lunch – always looking so happy together. Maria introduced me to Fulham Palace and we used to meet there occasionally for a cup of tea. The last time we met there was in February and she seemed so positive . When I first saw Maria again in September 2013 after the first treatments I was struck by how much support she had got from you all and your incredibly close bond as a family. Your hearts must be breaking to have lost her and I can only imagine how difficult this time must be for you. It’s so unfair.
I met the three of you very briefly in a hotel when you had just got off a plane in Singapore (you may not remember!). Maria and I had been working together on a programme and were at the end of a long week but she was very excited to see you three. I remember that one night she had been woken by a call from one of the girls in the middle of the night – something to do with a lost laptop – and I was amazed at how patiently and calmly she handled that from afar! Maria brought me into the Incite family and we have worked together a lot over the last 5 years – usually in far flung destinations even though we only a lived few miles apart – and I have learned so much from her. Maria was an great role model for me – skilled, humble, smart, generous with her time and always so dignified and elegant. The participants loved her because she knew how to connect with people. I remember the feedback from that first programme in Singapore – one of the participant’s words has always stayed with me. He said “everyone should have a Maria in their life”. How true.
I also always admired her sartorially – she knew how to work the business casual look which isn’t always an easy one to pull off! I once spent several hours on line trying to find a lovely black dress that she had bought from M&S because it looked so fab.
I will miss working with Maria so much and we at Incite will miss her as a colleague, leader and friend. It is very hard to imagine doing programmes without her in the future. However, we have all learned so much from Maria and I’m confident that her legacy will continue in the work that we do moving forward.
I am also running the Race for Life on 19th July in memory of your lovely mum and wife. I may be quite far behind you girls in the field but will hopefully find you at the end.
Thank you for welcoming us to Maria’s funeral on Friday. Although it will be an incredibly sad day, it will be an honour to reflect on this amazing lady amongst her family and friends.
With love and best wishes,