Vale Gillian Steyn (Beloved Wife, Mother and Business Partner)
I have been avoiding speaking about a huge event that took place in October 2021. Most of our suppliers and customers know, we are a small family business. Until October last year, Pamper Hamper Gifts was a Mum and daughter team. I had the honour of working with my mum everyday. There were a lot of laughs, a handful of disagreements but years of quality time with her for which I will always be grateful.
Many of our customers and suppliers had the privilege of meeting or speaking to Gill. Gill was my Mum and my business partner (and the reason we got all our orders out the door). She loved the business and she loved packing hampers, especially the baby ones!
Unfortunately, despite having been in remission for a year, Gill's cancer came back and the prognosis was not good. When treatment ended, she still wanted to come in and pack hampers. It was her happy place. She would alternate between packing a hamper and resting on the sofa until her body was no longer able.
On 16 October 2021, Gill took her last breath and it has devastated us. Not wanting to show any weakness, we fought through it, didn't mention it and kept the business going. Whilst it is fun, running a small business is not easy, if anyone tells you it is, they are either a marketing genius or they're lying. Running a small business while grieving was torture best ignored. What I know now, is there is no shame or weakness in grief, everyone grieves in their own way. It's ok to hang a sign on the door and say "not today".
I wanted to pay tribute to a very special lady who left this world far too young. I miss her everyday, especially when I'm at the warehouse. I love coming across her handwritten notes, seeing customers order the hampers she created and reading the blogs she started and saved as "not complete".
So here's to Gill, a one-in-a-million, always missed, forever cherished, never forgotten.