Once upon a time, an effervescent soul joined the theatre in her native England. Oh, what fun was had in the halcyon, carefree days of her youth, treading the boards. She eventually emigrated to Australia, and joined a local company, befriending a gent with a twinkle in his eye and wicked sense of humour. Life provided the pair with many twists and turns, including marriages to other people, but somehow they found each other again. The lady was in demand as a singing teacher and also as a performer. She smiled a lot and her love of sequins befitted her seemingly extroverted self. Yet, I recall bumping into her at the supermarket, one bitterly-cold evening. We exchanged pleasantries, and then I saw the look. The look that betrays the dimples and smile, and speaks of pain that the eyes can’t hide, no matter how trained in the theatre one is. She was lonely, so lonely, and needed everything in her contracted world to expand. She ultimately needed to see the fellow from long ago. He had since divorced as had she. She attempted to explain who he was and what he could possibly become in her future, but there weren’t enough superlatives on earth. Complex, bitingly funny, sensitive and much more. I truly couldn’t wait to meet him.
A medical professional, biker, guitarist and intriguingly also a plumber, he greeted me warmly. My friend had come back to life with his presence and they married. He had an horrendous, abusive upbringing which had scarred him in ways only she knew how to soothe. Over the next few years, they built a life together. He was spiritual, more than religious, as he had witnessed his share of hypocrisy and one thing he couldn’t abide was cruelty, nor fools. I understood who he was, and appreciated the twinkle in his eye. This past month, he was told that he had three month’s to live, tops. He had already endured several agonizing illnesses, and numerous surgeries. Trying to keep life and soul together was proving too much with this news, and he knew what lay ahead. He made the decision to quietly end his life, alone and without fanfare. My darling friend couldn’t be privy to his decision, and so it happened alone.
A sandy-haired medico/biker, with an impish grin and wicked humour made the choice to not continue. He was in his fifties, and was dying. It is a deeply personal choice, and I am sure that he considered all angles and avenues before making it. I just don’t understand why people have the right to be with their loved ones and die in a peaceful manner, taken from them in Australia. They both deserved better. I will think of you, my friend, whenever I open a decent bottle of plonk, hear the engine revving on a motorbike, listen to decent music and look into your beloved’s eyes. Those eyes which once contained an Olympic pool filled with tears, are now twinkling. You conjured hope into being, and so it remains.