One Wedding and the Words We Hoped We’d Never Hear…
Well, I guess this is the final instalment from me. 15 years in. The end of an era. The fight is finally over. That’s not to say The Beast is over. That’s now in James’ court. But the dynamic duo of the Hutton brothers that presided over these pages of The Beast will now be the solo swings of just one. The eldest. Probably the smartest too, dare I admit it. Certainly the one who started this whole big adventure in late 2004/early 2005 and who has run the show for the past couple of years while I’ve been fighting my lymphoma battle.
I wrote in my last piece about the words ‘terminal’ and ‘palliative care’, and while my doctors didn’t say those words exactly, unfortunately that’s where I’m now at. The results from my latest trial were no good and, realistically, my options going forward with respect to a cure are very slim. I’m dying and I’m having to get my head around that. I have to make the best decisions for my family and, based on that, I have to look at quality of life rather than quantity (though I do hope to continue this fight through to Christmas and the New Year). Shit, there’ll always be some fight there, and the hope of a miracle (anyone hiding one from me? I’ll pay top dollar if necessary).
Is this hard to write? Yes and no. When the light turns off, that’s it for me. I don’t have to get up, fondle for the switch and pick up the pieces. I just shuffle off this mortal coil and leave behind some memories, a legacy (hopefully) and maybe a few lessons for my fellow man. And 180 back issues of The Beast if you’re keen to reflect on 15 years of Eastern Beaches life!
Hopefully I’ve taught my two children well so far and they grow up to be fine young humans on the back of the foundations I’ve helped lay for them. Regardless, I know that their Mummy, their uncles/aunties/cousins, their grandparents and our friends near and far will all be around to care for them and help shape them into magnificent people.
So to all the loyal (or otherwise) Beast readers out there, this is goodbye. Thank you for taking the time to read my work when I’ve written, for all your contributions (letters to the editor, articles, photographs, Facebook rants, heckles in the street, death threats from private numbers, death threats when you’ve forgotten to switch your phone to ‘private number’ and, more often than not, love, encouragement and support), and thank you for spending money in the wonderful local businesses that keep the wheels of The Beast machine well-oiled and constantly moving forth.
When we started this little publication, James was 25 and I was 23. We really had no idea what we were doing. We were beyond naive, but that probably worked in our favour. We were also pretty good at living rough and surviving on bugger all – as long as the beach was down the road and our laptops were still working, we were in business. A filthy mattress off the street was like heaven once you’d thrown a few semi-damp and slightly stinky towels upon it and we always managed to maintain a roof over our heads…
Dan passed away on Sunday, October 27, before he got to complete his final article for The Beast. Please go to page 36 for a tribute to Dan, including a reprint of his three-part essay, ‘A Long Holiday in Hotel Chernobyl’, and the eulogy I delivered at his funeral. Thanks, James.