As I drove to Monsalvat I thought it was a perfect day for flying. You would have loved it. A clear Australian, brilliant, hot, lucid sky. As I thought of that, the knot in my stomach tightened and I found myself getting more and more emotional as I got closer to the front gate. As I pulled in, an old blue heeler wandered out and scratched himself. Somehow that tattered beast was what I needed and I laughed out loud and instantly felt better for that. In part because it was the sort of mongrel you loved.
All the gang are here mate. All those grown men who have done amazing things around the world, now mixing laughter and tears over you and with each other. All united at this artist’s retreat which is so appropriate a setting for your farewell. Your Dad and Mum made us laugh and cry – gave us all insights we never had but which were true to what we knew of you. Shauna did a sterling job. You would be proud of your “gorgeous girl”. We all are. Of course Mark was necessarily irreverent at spots and we thank him for that, for making the bitter a little sweet.
It’s been a strange day JD. A part of me still hopes you have staged all this and run off to Peru. Another part simply fails to make the connection. There is a surreal, unreal sensation to all this. Your mates share the sentiment with me. It is not right. It is not happening. But we were all confronted by the reality of the place, the occasion, the grief of family, of the casket, and there was the raw and painful truth of it all. You would have loved the casket by the way. Not just because Dad and friends made it but because the routered and mitred joints were perfect and its lines square and clean. In fact you would have loved the whole occasion and therein lies the rub.