Martin Crowe and his wife, Lorraine Downes at the New Zealand Cricket awards, 2015

Lorraine and Martin at the New Zealand Cricket awards night in Auckland in 2015

Phil Walter / © Getty Images
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Cover Story

My beautiful man

Martin Crowe's wife reflects on the partner, the father, the joker

Lorraine Downes |

It has been said that the amount of grief you feel when someone passes is a direct reflection of how much you loved that person. My grief is huge, as was my love for Marty.

Many of the public knew him as a cricket legend, I knew him only as my soulmate.

Right from the beginning of our relationship, I nicknamed Marty "my beautiful man" and that is what he was to me - his heart so pure and transparent, so honest and so full of love. He was passionate, romantic, fun, and could be as cheeky as hell.

From the day I met him, I found I could truly be just me with him, and I felt his genuine love so strongly. He was everything I ever dreamed for in a partner. His love for me, for us, our children and family, was relentless. I know how blessed we have been and I will be forever grateful to my beautiful man.

I will be forever grateful to you my darling for what you shared with me, for helping me grow as person, for showing me truly what living in the moment means

That word "soulmate" - we always felt that was true for us and that we were destined to be together. And we did indeed have a love story.

Our first meeting was in 1990, while working together as co-presenters for a corporate video. Over the next 15 years our paths crossed several times, but the timing was never right for us to be together - until a fateful meeting in 2005 at Clearwater Resort in Christchurch. We had no idea we would both be staying at Clearwater, let alone have hotel rooms right next to each other. It was a sign, and finally the timing was perfect for us to be together.

Marty absolutely loved clothes and shopping, and when I first saw his wardrobe, I noticed that he owned more shoes and clothes than me! Yes, this was looking like a perfect match. I did, however, give him the biggest test of his love for me just before we got married.

We were getting ready to depart on an overseas trip. I decided to quickly return a DVD to the local store before our taxi to the airport arrived. Jumping into my car, I reversed and heard a huge crunch. Marty entered the garage at the exact moment that I climbed out to see what I had run over. His words: "Tell me you didn't just run over my golf clubs?" Yes, I had. He proceeded to examine each club, and each was thrown on the ground with a yell. Not one survived my error.

We drove to the airport in silence. As we arrived he said with his big warm smile and twinkly eyes: "Hunny, got your passport?" And all was forgiven.

Lorraine and Martin with her children, Jasmine (far left) and Hilton (far right) and his daughter, Emma

Lorraine and Martin with her children, Jasmine (far left) and Hilton (far right) and his daughter, Emma © Lorraine Downes

Our partnership was about having fun and much love. In fact, we had a party for two most days. We never tired of one another. We would go away on holidays and spend the entire trip just on our own - completely happy, each needing nothing more than the other.

When I saw him with his beautiful daughter Emma for the first time, she was just two. I noticed instantly the way he parented you, Emma, with such love, gentleness and fun, it was clear that he loved being your "papa", and this made me love him even more.

Marty believed being a father was his greatest achievement and it brought him the most pleasure out of anything he ever did in his life. He also embraced in his own gentle way my two children, Hilton and Jasmine, as though they were his own.

Marty was a real family man, and was most happy entertaining in his home with his loved ones. He made us laugh - Jasmine, nicknamed him "The Funny Guy". He would greet us speaking in different accents, which caused us much amusement. He also loved giving people he met a nickname - everyone close to him, we all have our own personal nicknames that Marty gave us.

The hideous cancer that took him from us also saved him. It gave him the opportunity to stop and sit still and find out who he really was.

He was the most honest man I have ever met. He wasn't afraid to stand up for any injustice, whether it concerned himself or someone else

In the past, before the cancer, sometimes Marty could be intense, restless, and as the media reported recently, "complex". He was not afraid to publicly voice his thoughts, and this was sometimes misunderstood. I will say to those people who didn't "get" Marty - his intention always came from a place of integrity and absolute truth.

He was the most honest man I have ever met. He wasn't afraid to stand up for any injustice, whether it concerned himself or someone else. Being the sensitive soul he was, however, he carried a lot of hurt and misunderstanding in his mind and heart from his younger years.

When the cancer arrived, he did the courageous work of facing himself - and from that internal work he finally saw what we, those who loved and understood him, knew about him: that he was a gentle, kind and loving soul. He found his connection with God, which gave him great comfort and strength through the trials of his disease.

I asked him what was the most important lesson he had learnt. He answered: "I have learnt many lessons but the most important was to only hold on to the truth, removing all that is untrue and false."

When his diagnosis changed to Double Hit Lymphoma, he told me, "It's okay, Raine, I have found my peace."

Crowe with his daughter Emma

Crowe with his daughter Emma © Lorraine Downes

That peace and clarity he found over the last couple of years had made him able to also touch the lives of others close to him, for the better. What a gift he has given to many.

I will be forever grateful to you, my darling, for what you shared with me, for helping me grow as person, for showing me truly what living in the moment means, and what being loved and cherished feels like.

You loved me in a way that I have never been loved. It will never be forgotten.

Marty believed in eternal life, and so do I. Emma, know your Papa will always be close to you, observing all the wonderful things you will do in your life ahead.

Lastly, I asked Marty what he wanted to be remembered as.

"For being authentic, loving, and full of prayer."

Adapted from the speech Lorraine made at Martin Crowe's funeral

 

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  • POSTED BY cricconnossieur on | March 14, 2017, 5:51 GMT

    Thank you cricinfo and Sambit for posting this. Puts life in perspective.

  • POSTED BY arupsbt1988 on | March 9, 2017, 8:39 GMT

    One of the Greatest and Technically perfect batsmen of the 90s.

  • POSTED BY Priyaranjan Jha on | March 4, 2017, 0:33 GMT

    thank you very much for writing this, I would like to say that it would be impossible to know how many people loved him how much, if every person who truly loved him, put in a drop of water, he would have drowned eventually. His memories are permanent.