climbed the haiku stairs, stairway to heaven – 2800ft, over 4000 stairs – in the dark to watch sunrise. then went skydiving just to get a little bit higher.
it seems i went to heaven twice.
we were speaking about it, mum and i, standing outside our beach house. a rainbow appeared in the sky, the end of it glowing gently on the surface of the sea. it grew and it intensified and it became a perfect full rainbow. you can’t tell me there’s nothing after this life.
when i went to mexico with my friend brooke, we met some guys from corona, california.
they were so cool, raced dirt bikes and spoke in hollywood accents. connor penhall was one of those guys – this gorgeous blonde kid danced on up to brooke and i, shoeless on the makeshift dance floor, at a club right on the beach. it was new years eve and we were drunk off the night: the beach and the beers, smooth tequila and mexican music. his charisma was addictive.
we spent the rest of the night getting to know this cool kid from corona.
twitter, instagram and facebook kept us in touch from opposite sides of the world. we joked about visits to australia and reunions in mexico. a distant friend who liked my photos, sent unexpected tweets…and made that new years the most memorable of my life so far.
connor was killed today, struck by a drunk driver while working on the 10 freeway in baldwin hills, california.
it’s an absolute shock. i won’t say we were best friends – we weren’t. but he had that special thing about him, that thing you find in those people you meet along the way. he was someone always there, somehow there seemed a permanence about him – someone i’d subconsciously planned to cross paths with again somehow, someday.
the last facebook status update he posted warned his friends of a dui spot to avoid…the irony unmistakable. messages of love flood his wall. my heart goes out to his family, his friends. a magical person, taken way too soon.
rest in peace, connor. i hope you race the gnarliest of motocross tracks in heaven.
i’m still here. i can still feel the cold air on my face as i drive, in the night, with the window down. i can still smell the fabric softener on my jumper that reminds me just how much i’m loved. i can still see the faces of my family every day, hug them, tell them i love them. and i can still take them for granted, every day. stupid me.
sitting there this afternoon, hearing the sobs and watching the tears stream down innocent faces, the dry eyes of the stoic, too, i thought about my own family. mum sitting to my right, dad another seat over. the boys, my brothers always there and always strong, and their girls. my grandparents. my aunty, uncle. my cousins: the girls who worry me most. their little hearts, broken.
she said her only reason for living, was them. those girls, too young to have to know this. too young to have this experience.
my friend rhiannon told me, sometimes people are stuck in their bodies here, and only after passing can they truly be free. so now, she is free. may she rest, peacefully, in a life more like the one she should have had on earth.
it’s too true, death puts life into perspective. i don’t know what i would do if…i don’t know what i would do. so it’s not something you think about day to day. you live and you make a life and you do what you love and you appreciate everything, everyone.
death is sad. but it happens. the only thing we can do is live. with truth, with dignity, with vigour. with love for all the beauty surrounding us.
“will you go to heaven when you die? let’s find out. have you ever told a lie, stolen, used god’s name in vain, or looked at someone with lust? if yes, then you are a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart.”
well i better get used to the heat then…
it then continues on to say something about god forgiving all if you believe in his will. well great, there’s hope for us all. this “gospel” was given to me by a man on the side of the road who asked me if i believe in heaven and hell. “what do you think will happen to you when you die?” i’ll be reincarnated. as a human. “yeah, but what sort of human?” a good human. i’m a pretty good person. “do you think you would go to heaven?” yes. “why?” because i’m a pretty good person.
and that was the extent of our conversation as i passed him and crossed the road.
i don’t know what i believe. he does. good for him. i wish i could be so certain. but, realistically, there are too many options. too many people pushing their agenda. too many preachers trying to convert me. leave me be. i’ll sort it out on my own. i’m a pretty good person.