real life

Harry M. Miller's memory faded. But in his final moments, he uttered five profound words.

It took five weeks before the grief truly landed on Simmone Logue. Friends returned to their normal routines, people stopped calling, there was nothing left to plan, no more affairs to put in order. Just her, and the immense weight of her loss.

The fine food entrepreneur had relished 17 years of true love and companionship with celebrity agent Harry M. Miller, before he died of a heart attack on July 4, 2018, aged 84. She and hundreds of famous friends and family farewelled him at a memorial at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre the following month.

But in a way, Simmone had said goodbye to her beloved Harry long before.

The New Zealand-born man’s last years were, in Simmone’s words, “harrowing”. Vascular dementia stripped this once larger-than-life person of his ability to reason, of large parts of his memory. He’d look to her when someone asked a question. He’d go out for milk, and an hour-and-half later she would find him sitting at a bus stop or at their local ice cream parlour, confused.

The deterioration was rapid at first, and Simmone and Harry’s family, including his daughters, ultimately made the decision to place him in care.

“It was the best thing we ever did for him and for me. But at the time it was so terribly traumatic and distressing,” Simmone told Mamamia’s No Filter podcast. “I spent the first year basically living in there. I never wanted to go home. I’d go late at night and be back early in the morning.

“He thought I was living there with him. [When I’d go home] I’d tell him, ‘I’m just I’m just going to go next door and put a load of washing on.’ And he’d say, ‘Don’t be long, darling.'”

To hear more of Simmone and Harry’s incredible love story, listen to No Filter…

Through it all, Simmone – a self-confessed “workaholic” – was building on her successful eponymous business (now 100-staff strong), snatching calls in the car, emailing from Harry’s room at the care facility.

But when she had a bad day, the man she’d turn to in difficult times for advice or just for an ear was no longer able to help.

“I’d grieve for that,” Simmone said. “Sometimes I would just go and fall into his arms and sob my eyes out, and it was confusing for him. But he was still my Harry.”

Though she had support, though she was busier than ever, it was a lonely time. Isolating. Knowing what was to come and the strength of her relationship, she sought intimacy from others; a path she and Harry (who admitted to a “wandering eye”) had navigated before.

ADVERTISEMENT

“There’s no rulebook for this stuff,” she said. “And when so much of your heart is still in another place it’s very, very difficult. Whilst I tried to navigate [new relationships], it always fell away in the end because if I walked in the other person’s moccasins – which I did – I had to let it go.”

Simmone. Image: Facebook.

Still, Simmone stresses that those final years there was also joy in the everyday moments and the deep love they shared. He’d raise his arm for her to slide beneath, stroke her shoulder, look at her with the same adoration he’d always done.

“We'd lived such a busy, big life full of so many distractions, and then it came down to just us. And it was so profound, the love,” she said.

Even on Harry’s final day, with Simmone, his three daughters and their mother, Wendy Lapointe, by his bedside, their connection was visceral.

“At one point he opened his eyes, and he said, ‘I love you... kiss me.’ And I kissed him and they were the last words that we spoke to each other,” she said.

“When he passed he was looking into my eyes so deeply I thought he was gonna take me to the other side with him. It was just the most beautiful, profound, loving experience I will ever have. Ever.”

00:00 / ???