A fortnight ago we buried The Bloke’s cousin.
Glenn was 57 years young and taken from this world way too soon, but in the past couple of weeks I’ve come to appreciate the lessons of his life — lived to the full, replete with positivity and passion for the things he loved.
I didn’t know Glenn all that well, but whenever I did catch up with him he was always affable and ready with a story and a laugh. He gave anything a go, particularly if it had wheels. He thoroughly enjoyed being in the bush. He loved his family and adored his wife.
In the days that followed his funeral, we found ourselves coming closer together as an extended family, recognising in the various activities we were doing the things Glenn would have got a kick out of. He would have loved The Bloke surprising us when, after a strenuous hike down to the bottom of Wollangambie Canyon, he pulled an inflatable dinghy out of his backpack so anyone without a wetsuit could have float on the cool, clear water. (Well, to be more accurate, it was near-freezing water, but it was still at least twenty-seven kind of fun).
Later, around the campfire, we recalled the curly haired larrikin who was known at various times to have sported a beard as bushy as Ned Kelly’s. The air was full of the smell of woodsmoke, toasting marshmallows, and the sound of kids’ happy shouts. The howling of the wild dogs beneath the escarpment wouldn’t have send Glenn hightailing it inside like it did us, but once safely ensconced back inside we raised a glass or two of Bundy and coke in his honour and told stories about him crossing the Nullabor on a motorbike with a side car (allegedly filled only with a case of beer).
Glenn might be gone, but the tales — even though many of them are true — will only get taller now that he has. He might not be here to tell us we’re a bunch of rabbits, but we’ll know exactly when he would have. The irony of him being taken from us too soon when he was often rather more than fashionably late for everything would not have been lost on him.
And when the going gets tough, as it inevitably does from time to time, we will be able to recall the bravery with which he approached the end of his life. I’m guessing we will always be able to find Glenn somewhere, maybe in the sound of the wind in the trees, or the sight of a stretch of open road, and we’ll hear him urging us onwards, ever onwards.
“That’s the go!”