Grief is something Ann-marie Blair understands well. It is a part of her life both personally and professionally.
She lost her husband, Tony, in January 2016 to a tragic accident and out of this experience, drawing on her background as a people-orientated person, counsellor and driven by necessity, she started a business this month offering to help unburden people from the consequences of death on a practical level.
Honestly Yours aims to help people in difficult times deal with the sensitivities associated with a loved one's passing.
The business specialises in deceased estates, sorting, packing, clearing furniture, de-cluttering in general and cleaning. This includes rubbish removal, tidying gardens and mowing lawns. Honestly Yours can also assist with the transition into a resthome.
Ms Blair and her husband, Tony, were a self employed couple working in the excavation and concrete industry for about 20 years.
Throughout this time Ms Blair was a homemaker with two children. During these years together they fostered several children and took on people short term who needed a safe haven while making changes in their lives.
As Christians they wanted to make a difference, "even one person at a time in this world". They were a great team and very happy.
Ms Blair says when she met people they always wanted to open up to her and share their life experiences, pain and struggles. Because of this she decided to study and obtained a Diploma in Professional Counselling. She has worked in this field for about four years.
Her husband was killed in the road crash on January 18, 2016, on the Kaipara Coast Highway near Hellensville. He was not at fault.
In the wake of this tragedy Ms Blair found she couldn't carry on the business without her husband's expertise so it was closed.
"When I lost him I really understood the help you need through such a distressing time," she said. "Going forward I knew I needed to provide for myself and thought what a great way to be able to achieve that with my love of people, my first hand experience of grief and my counselling skills."
And so Honestly Yours was established.
Honestly Yours is owner/operated with Ms Blair working mostly on her own.
"I feel this is extremely important in this kind of work. People want to know who is sorting, packing and cleaning their loved one's property. I want to be there to relieve their stress, not give them more," she said.
Ms Blair says Honestly Yours can also help people transition from their home into a rest home which can be a very stressful time with grief involved. People could be needing to transition into a smaller home. Perhaps they're retiring or moving from a farm into a suburban area.
"Basically Honestly Yours Ltd can do as little or as much as you and your family require.
"As little - just a clean once house is packed and cleared. As much - sorting, packing, organising furniture and goods to be auctioned, gifted, stored etc. Cleaning of home inside and outside including gardens/lawns, waterblasting, painting."