To my dear Q

Dear Q,

Well it has come. We’ve finally said good bye.

Yours has been the most remarkable passing that I have experienced. In fact it is surreal. I can’t just quietly mourn you like I have others who have left me. Not you. You were everywhere, days of it in the media. Shit, even mix 102.3 asked me to talk about you, now that was weird.

But even after all these weeks your spirit still haunts me. I can’t go to the Central Markets or walk through town without expecting you to wheel on up to me.

I feel your presence and as much as it hurts, I don’t want it to go away.

I’m pretty crap when it comes to death. Something about lifelessness freaks me out. You just have to remember that time I posted my bravery award given to me by my son for getting rid of a dead possum.

Can’t stand it. Never had.

Ray Martin on The Project summed you up well. You were living on borrowed time. You knew that and deep down so did I. The way you dealt with it was by living each day as best you can, thankful for each breath you took.

The way I dealt with it was quietly dreading that day would come where I would find out – via social media where I get most of your big news these days – that you were no longer with us.

And it did happen that way. There I was tapping away on a sad Sunday afternoon trying to get on top of my monstrous workload when the news broke. You were gone, they said it was an asthma attack. To be honest I didn’t care for the minor details of how, all I cared about was whether you were alone.

It broke my heart Q. You’re a friend who had a thousand other friends, but when we hung out it seemed like we were just each other’s friend.

It’s strange to think you’ve been around me all my life. The little boy with chalk bones as Willessee called you and it stuck. But as adults you were far from that, in fact the only part of your disability I saw was your activism.

A friendship forged on common goals, to make the world accessible and equal for all.

Yes you had opinions, but so did I. And yes you challenged me on them, and I sent them straight back to you.

When you asked to interview me for your latest ABC podcast series about being an activist (a definition I still struggle with) I was so flattered. Of all the people in your world, the movers and shakers, you chose me.

The flattery was nice, however the conversation – the last we had – was so much more. You were supposed to interview me, but I threw it back at you. You loved the banter, you loved me questioning you. It was great, it was testimony to our long coffees (or cokes for you), lunches and catch ups.

When my relationship broke down you were the only one who told me how it was. Everyone knew I was too good for him, but you’re the only one who said it to me straight. Thank you.

You were a shoulder to cry on, a one man cheer squad and a smile I could always rely on.

Good bye my dear friend, but please don’t go far.