The friend of a West London dad and husband, who died of a neurological disease earlier this month just months after his diagnosis, has said he inspired “so much love” as his legacy.
Wayne Richards, 52, a IT specialist from Ealing, died of motor neurone disease on July 1, after being diagnosed around last December when he noticed changes his throat and voice.
Close family friend Siri Sadhana Kaur, 53, of King’s Cross, said Wayne, who had been very fit and loved martial arts, was “so incredible” even as he deteriorated “really quickly” from the rapidly progressing disease, which attacks the nerves that control movement.
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“He was just so patient,” said Siri, who described how Wayne remained true to his “present, loving and warm” nature even in the final weeks and days of his life.
She said: “His deterioration meant he was standing, then he went into a wheelchair, then it was a wheelchair she pushed, then he was bedridden at home, then he had full time care with Marie Curie.”
Siri, who trains yoga instructors, got to know Wayne and his wife Raimonda, and their 8-year-old daughter Angel, after training Raimonda in the practice.
She said: “One thing that was so incredible to witness about both of them was how step-by-step they took it, they were so stoic and open.”
Siri said Wayne was a man who had a “very strong faith,” which she believes helped him right through until his death.
Even at the end of his life when he was in a lot of pain, Wayne opted to take less painkillers so he wouldn’t feel numbed or “out of it” and could still be present with the friends and family who visited him, explained Siri.
She said: “He didn’t want to die like that, he wanted more of a consciousness.
“So he worked in terms of his doses to keep the morphine quite low so he could still be awake and conscious.
“He wanted to engage still. He didn’t want to be numb…. he loved people, he was very engaged.”
She said Wayne’s focus was his wife and daughter, who have both been “amazing” and “strong” and have been “really focusing on the love and on gratitude for the amount of support” they have received.
Siri said Wayne was a “really present, loving and warm dad” who also had a lot of friends and family, including a big extended family in Birmingham with many doting siblings and nephews.
She said: “So many of them got up [to speak at his memorial] because they really loved him, they were really so inspired by him and what he represented to them.
“Everyone when they spoke about him had the same message, that he was consistent through and through – patient, kind, loving, respectable, generous, wise.
“Hearing his nephews speak as they did, it was like ‘Uncle Wayne’s coming round!’ and they all wanted a piece of him, because he created such peace, calm and inspiration for people – and that’s what everybody said about him.”
“He just had a very kind demeanour,” Siri added, “and he demonstrated such an ease – you felt comfortable with him, [had] interesting conversations, inspiring conversations.”
Siri said although martial arts was Wayne’s main hobby – and he was “really good” at it – he enjoyed all sorts of strength sports, including acrobatics.
She said: “He used to do break dancing as a kid, as a teenager. He grew up in the 80s and apparently used to do break dancing on ice, and was really good at it, and roller-skating.
“As a kid they used to call him Evel Knievel because he used to sort of get into these accidents, because he was quite daring, physically. Very physically fit but very agile as well.”
Siri said she left Wayne’s memorial service feeling amazed at “the human capacity to still be an inspiration right to the end.”
She said: “In that room, with all those people, there was so much love.
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“That’s what I came away with, and that gave me a real inspiration about what’s possible in the light of so much loss, and grief and pain, there was so much love being spoken and felt and shared, and connection – let alone some funky music being played.
“That’s the legacy Wayne has left. So much love, and all those lovely traits.”
Siri has set up a GoFundMe page for Wayne’s family, to help support them financially following his death.
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