Kylie Galende, the girlfriend of Jonnie Hartshorn who died in the Curtin University building collapse on Tuesday, has posted a heartfelt tribute to her partner of six months on Facebook.
In it she called Hartshorn “my soul mate, my best friend, everything I could have ever wanted in life,” and shared screenshots of the final text messages they sent on the day of the disaster.
“Six months is like the most evil tease,” she wrote.
“Long enough to fall in love with you, but not long enough to get into lovers tiffs.”
The two met on a big night out after a friend had been trying to set them up for months.
“The moment our eyes met, we both knew,” Galende wrote.
But it wasn’t until the next day that Harsthorn managed to find her on Facebook.
“At the start you started playing Pokémon because you wanted to relate to things I was interested in so you could keep talking to me or keep trying to find excuses to see me, a.k.a. go out Pokémon hunting,” she continued.
“Just a couple weeks ago you were helping me sort through my Pokémon card collection! Nothing I did you ever rolled your eyes at or thought I was lame.”
Hartshorn died almost instantly when a glass ceiling collapsed at a construction site at Perth’s Curtin University. He was 23 years old.
He was working as an apprentice on scaffolding, five storeys up. A rescue team had to remove his body from the rubble.
Galende’s tribute to Hartshorn included the final text messages she sent to her boyfriend on Tuesday, frantically asking if he was ok.
After sending several messages over several hours from when the accident occurred, she sent one final text.
“I’m hoping and praying you are going to be ok,” it said.
“I’m a mess and I always think life is too short and I’m so stupid, I should have just told you on the weekend how much I have fallen in love with you and I don’t know what I will do without you in my life.”
Galende, who has a 10-year-old daughter, said Hartshorn was nothing but loving and supporting to the both of them.
“I’ll always remember the time we went to the Margaret River Chocolate Company and you asked me if it was ok to buy Havana some chocolate,” she said.
“You hadn’t even met her yet but you always let me know you were thinking about her.
“You were never phased or scared that I had a 10 year old daughter.”
She added that before meeting Hartshorn, she had spent the past nine years being distant to others like a “cold hard rock”.
“Didn’t take long for Jonnie to knock all those walls down and for my true old self to come flooding back,” the veterinary nurse said.
“I was always very independent. But jonnie made me realise I can be vulnerable, I can be dependent, I can be safe and loved and looked after, and it is a beautiful thing.”
Hartshorn was just two months away from meeting Galende’s whole family at Christmas, but now that won’t happen.
“Last week I told my best friend that I think I am in love with this guy, I almost told you,” Galende wrote.
“But I didn’t, I chickened out. That’s my only regret.”