Aaron Blomeley & Jan Flower
Born 1940 & Born 1938
Two are better than One
Aaron - Jan and I are friends because we're both members of the Baha'i Faith. The pinnacle of all the teachings is the oneness of mankind. Caring for society and recognising that there's needs out there that we should be out trying to address. I love people. I try to make sure people my age, I visit and they’re not sitting at home on their own. I’ll phone them or go and see them for a chat.
Jan - The one person I remember from that first Baha’i meeting was Aaron. I think I even remember the jumper he had, and I think it's because he's so welcoming. We've been good friends ever since. When my darling husband died. Aaron was a tower of strength for me. I had grief counselling for a while. We were very close, Tom and I had been married 45 years and I was finding it very difficult, but the poetry was better than any grief counselling. I wrote about his death, his dying, how I felt. A year later, I wrote another one and that showed how I was gradually coming to terms with that. It was just going deep into your subconscious.
Aaron – poetry allows you to free your expression without judgement. You know nobody else is going to read it, so that's all right. I just suggested Jan write poetry, I had no knowledge of grief. But it was a nice exercise together.
When I retired I started writing short stories for myself, never for publication. Then I started running out of stories. Then Feros sent a note around to all the poetry groups saying, ‘we're running a slam poetry group’. I thought it's probably better than what I’m not doing now so I went and it was just absolutely inspirational. Absolutely. I love performing in front of people, so that's all right, and it was just very liberating. And I've enjoyed poetry ever since.
Jan - And so we've done this poetry together and you might suggest a subject. And we both write a poem on the same thing and compare. I find it's fun writing about real things, happenings, and of course, all the grief things. Very helpful. Aaron is very erudite with his poetry. And I'm just, you know, little Miss Muffet.
Aaron – you write humour. I tend to be more passionate, more confrontational. It's an opportunity for me to put confrontational ideas out there without having to confront the people.
Jan – the power of friendship is having an extra support in life and the joy of sharing. Aaron’s been very kind to me in my hours of need. Because when you lose your other half, and he was my other half, you’re very lost. Aaron's encouraged me to find other things to do. We share the joy of being Baha’is, and it is a joyful thing being part of the Baha’i community.
Aaron - to me, the power of friendship is summed up in one word, and that's trust. If you've got a really good friend, you can trust them with the problems and the joy.
Jan - Well, that's true. I can tell anything to Aaron, and he's not going to tell it to anyone else. And there are some things that it's very healing to tell somebody else. Thank you for being my friend.
Aaron - We both enjoy it. Our friendship is radiated out to others and that's an important part. By being happy, being positive, greeting people, helping them if they're down.
Of Jan’s best qualities, Aaron said ‘the opposite to mine usually because they tend to complement mine, so her gentleness would be something, I'm not necessarily a gentle person, her generosity’. On Aaron’s best qualities, Jan said ‘when it was his birthday, I wrote a poem about all his good qualities, he's very kind and thoughtful of other people. Very friendly, outspoken, Sometimes I could say, a cranky old man’.
Aaron and Jan are wonderful close friends who support one another and their community. They share a beautiful, gentle dynamic. They wrote this poem for their photoshoot on the power of friendship:
When I’m feeling down, feeling blue
I need a friend to help me walk it through
An embrace of trust, a smile to cheer
Nourish the joy and perhaps shed a tear
You and I, my friend, we work together
Feeling happy, we ignore the weather.
Stay with me my trusted friend.
You can count on me until the end.