Jan Archibald: An appreciation

JAN Archibald, who has died aged 74, lived with a diagnosis of myeloma for over 12 years, writes Dori Jackson.

Though a journey of physical and emotional ups and downs it was also a time when she enjoyed her life to the limit of her ability with courage, determination and joy. It was a journey of spiritual growth those of us who knew her were privileged to share.

Colin, her husband, who shared her life for 32 years, has memories of Jan no-one else can share and he was the source of her greatest happiness and support. However, this memorial of Jan comes from a group where she shared with, and supported, others on a journey of personal growth and professional development – her PPD group.

After a working life which encompassed the Civil Service, Alzheimer’s Scotland and a short period as a trainee hairdresser, she graduated from Strathclyde University with a Diploma in Person-Centred Counselling and worked with the Dave Mearns Lanarkshire project in GP practice and at Glasgow’s Tom Allan Counselling Centre before setting up her own practice.

A member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), she worked as a counsellor/supervisor until failing health led to retirement in 2016. She continued her membership of the PPD group, meeting on Zoom until a few weeks before her death.

Over the years Jan’s curiosity and interest in ideas led her to explore many paths and teachings. In fact she met Colin on a Shiatsu massage weekend. Her holistic approach to personal-growth work was a great asset in her work and how she handled the illness which eventually ended her life.

For almost 20 years Jan was an integral part of our PPD group. Her keen insights were always supportive, speaking truth even when it was risky. This, together with her wisdom and sense of fun, was a gift which enriched the work of the group and the lives of those who worked with her so deeply.

From a working-class Glaswegian background, practical, full of earthy common sense and at times wicked humour, she also had a rare quality that warmed and opened the hearts of others.

It was hard not to smile in Jan’s company and easy to feel the compassion of her deep attention to the troubled feelings of others. She was absolutely and honestly herself. Her soul shone through.