Six weeks ago Claudia Stylianou got home from work and told her husband she needed to go to bed for a few days.
The 45-year-old mother of two lay down and never got up again.
It was at the point her family and friends realised how serious her breast cancer was and that she had been hiding her pain from them.
Claudia was diagnosed three years ago but it disappeared after surgery and natural treatments including medicinal marijuana. Claudia had not wanted chemotherapy.
However earlier this year it returned with a vengeance.
Claudia's husband Taky said he was unsure exactly when his brave, strong wife found out the bad news as she had not wanted to burden them.
Instead the family made special memories during lockdown not knowing it would be some of their last to be made with their mum.
Taky, a sales rep, was made redundant in March and said while he hadn't thought it at the time - in hindsight it was a blessing as it meant he had been able to spend time with his wife and caring for her during her final weeks.
"She lay down in bed and never got up and her health just absolutely spiralled out of control from there. I just can't believe how stoic she was to be honest."
Claudia returned to work at Flanshaw Road School in Te Atatu as a teacher aide and started taking mindfulness sessions for the students and teachers - something the principal later told her husband had made a big impact on the school.
"She was the kindest person you will ever meet, she had a lovely heart... Everyone that meets Claudia, loves Claudia. She's just that type of person that anybody can talk to about anything and everyone walks away going 'what a nice person'."
Since her death he had learned just how big her heart was and how many people she had touched with her kindness.
Last week after her death he opened the house up and was blown away with the people who came through to pay their respects.
"There must have been 50 people who came through my house who I had never met before who sat me down and all told me lovely stories about my wife.
"I always knew she was special, you know I loved her to bits, but I didn't realise the rest of the world felt the same about her."
Claudia arrived in New Zealand from Germany for a three month holiday and fell in love with the country. A few months later she fell in love with Taky and never left. The couple had been married for 20 years.
"She left Germany on a three month holiday some 23 years ago and found New Zealand a country that is open and caring and pretty casual and fell in love with the country and reciprocated that back to all the people she came across."
Her parents have both died but her sister still lives in Germany and was unable to make the trip over to say goodbye due to tough border restrictions. After four weeks of trying they gave up, Taky said.
Now Taky and the two children were grieving for their mum and trying to figure out how they would rebuild their lives without her.
"I need to reboot and recover. I have two lovely kids, extremely talented and I'm going to try and get their lives to carry on as normal as possibly while I stop probably for the first time ever in my life and sit down and try and get my life back on track properly."
Close friend Mariann Trieber said Claudia was incredibly brave and strong and had kept working to provide for her family weeks up until her death - until she just physically couldn't do it anymore.
The pair had met after their daughters bonded at cheerleading. Trieber said Claudia was always so caring and became a second mum to everyone.
Trieber said Claudia had always been the first one to help anyone else out and had last year rallied in support of another cheerleading mum who was having a tough time and helped provide Christmas presents for them.
"She just looked out for everybody really."
Trieber has set up a Givealittle page to support the family financially and to give them time to grieve without Taky having pressure to start job hunting immediately.