Vale Dave Parker

Rest in peace, old friend. The world is less shiny without you.

I woke at 4am today, unable to breathe after a coughing fit brought on by a nasty cold, coupled with the weight of a full-term baby pressing on various internal organs. I was extremely uncomfortable, and after some tossing and turning in bed, I decided to grab my phone and scroll through Facebook in an attempt to lull myself back to sleep.

I was almost up to date with what people had gotten up to while I was sleeping when my scrolling stopped on a photo of you, on our mutual friend’s page, with a message that read “You will be missed, Dave. RIP.”

What. The. Feck.

I jumped out of bed, leaving my husband to continue his slumber, and lumbered out to the living room to my laptop, where I spent the next 90 or so minutes stalking our mutual friends, trying to find out what happened. Although we lost touch a thousand years ago, rarely a week goes by where I don’t think about you, and wonder how you’re getting on with life.

I sent desperate messages to a couple of mutual friends, and waited, and waited, and waited to hear news. As everyone was asleep, there wasn’t much I could do except a bit more Facebook stalking. Finally, I heard from one of them, saying that the cancer had returned and the doctors weren’t able to slow it down.

Cancer? I didn’t even know you had cancer.

Later, I had a long chat with another friend, who had more information. You were a survivor, having already dealt with one bout and seemingly won. When it returned, you fought hard, like you did the first time, with good humour and steely determination. Unfortunately, even though you got into a medical trial to try and slow down the progress, the cancer made its way into your lungs, then kidneys and liver.

I was told you arrived home on the weekend, in time to spend a couple of days with your family, before you left us. I’m glad you were home, and surrounded by all those you love, and who love you so much.

I don’t remember how or when we met – I know we met through friends of friends of friends at Macquarie University, and for some strange reason, you tolerated my loud and sometimes abrasive personality. We became friends, and for a time, we were very close – we saw each other every week, and we hung out all the time. You were such a good friend to me, more than I deserved, as I often whinged and complained about all my problems and woes, and you always listened and provided support. For years, you put up with me dishing the crap, and so it wasn’t alltogether surprising when you woke up one morning and realised you didn’t need my negativity in your life. We drifted apart, and then, later, with separate lives to live, we lost touch.

You were one of those rare people who never had a bad word to say about anyone. You were also one of those rare people who never had a bad word said about you. Everyone you met loved you at first sight. Everyone lucky enough to have been able to call you “friend” was treated with utmost respect and fierce loyalty. You always lit up a room with your presence, with your ready smile and easygoing nature.

I am shattered by the knowledge I will never see you again, and the inexplicable loss of someone so young and vibrant. I’m a bit numb as well, grieving for you as many many others are grieving for you too. But I know you are in a better place now, watching over us, beaming down with your trademark goofy smile.

Dave, I thank you for the years of friendship, and for making my life so shiny with your kindness and love. I will always remember the awesome times we had – all the times you made me laugh, picked me up when I was down, and the pearls of wisdom you imparted. Hearing of your passing today hit hard, even though it’s been years since we last saw each other. You will always be remembered as a great bloke, a friend to one and all, and the life of the party.

You will be missed.


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