My first friend: Vale Ania Walwicz

I don’t usually go to orientations. I’ve spent so much of my life in education, I always felt like I knew what university was about. But I was in a new city this time, Melbourne significantly more lively and intricate than my sleepy hometown, Perth. I went to the Professional Writing and Editing (PWE) orientation hoping to learn and to find my footing. I certainly never expected Dr Ania Walwicz.

My first impression was that she was the course’s Yoda. Her eyes were filled with experience, and she walked with the confidence of someone accustomed to the burdens of life. After the orientation, we were all invited to coffee so we could mingle and get to know the teachers. I made a bee-line for Ania. On appearance alone, she fascinated me. But when I sat beside her and we started talking, I found myself transfixed. Her stories, her questions, her insights. I could have sat with her for hours, just listening as she sketched memories with her words. And when we parted, my nerves tingled with her power.

Ania was a mystical being. A sage, a druid, a witch. She held the secrets of the universe, brought into our reality by her recitation of her own words.

She has not passed. She cannot pass. Her eternal nature has taken her to another realm.

I mourn our lost time. I mourn a friend, mentor and teacher. I mourn our shared dreams. I mourn the light and magic she brought to life.

I mourn Ania.

Wherever she may be.

Author’s note: I held off on writing this for a long time. But, when faced with Ania’s memorial, hearing and seeing her again in photos and video, everything began flowing out of me. It’s hard. It’s really hard to know I’ll never see her again. But I’m grateful to have known her.


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