The Last time I Saw Dean Alive
Dean and I were best of friends as well as brother and sister. We joked about the things we’d still be doing together in our old age. We had a strong bond and love for each other that meant a lot of things. We’d
shared our upbringing and we understood our childhood like no-one else could. We could joke about our parents and their shortcomings while also giving each other sound advice regarding family issues. It meant that we could argue, be angry, or disagree with each other and beneath it all was a shared desire to find some kind of resolve to bring us back together. Whether that meant explaining yourself until the other person could understand your point of view, or taking something on board to think about, or just agreeing to disagree, there was always a coming back together. We were bonded by love and mutual respect. I felt it was awesome to have him in my life. At rare times when I was sinking and couldn’t see the woods for the trees, he could sum up my situation and illuminate the obvious path. His advice made all the confusion disperse and gave me courage to take action.
Dean and I had talked for years about going to the Byron Bay Blues Festival and finally we were doing it together. We had planned to meet up at the quaint little beach house where I usually stayed each year. Dean and Amanda had taken their time and camped at some of the beautiful remote beaches along the coastal drive from Sydney to Byron Bay. After spending their first night with me at the Blue Iguana Beach House, we left the next day without any accommodation booked during the busiest period in Byron Bay, which caused me stress but was an adventure to my brother who lived by the ‘no fear’ motto. He pulled me into his positive way of thinking making it a fun escapade. As luck would have it there had been a
cancellation so we could pitch our tents at Broken Head Beach Caravan
Park which was not far from the festival.
It was now Sunday evening, and around us the music resonated through the big tent at the Festival. We were right in amongst the gig, down at the front taking it all in. Onstage Chris Wilson, one of Dean’s favourites, was performing, but I had decided to leave during the set to get a good position down the front of the Mojo stage to see Ben Harper. Saying our goodbyes I remember him standing with his body facing the stage, his arms folded, his head turned towards me, looking at me with his warm smile and being relaxed and comfortable. He was in his element and enjoying himself. It was such a normal and ordinary event that in any other situation it would have probably disappeared from memory by now. If only I had known that this would be the last time that I would see him alive.
“See you at the Ferris wheel. See ya,” Dean said.
“See you at the Ferris wheel,” I said back to him.
The Ferris wheel was our meeting place during the four day long festival. A place to get back together again after we had gone our own way or gotten separated. After the Ben Harper gig, that is where we would catch up again and head back to our campsite.
When I got to the Ferris wheel after the Ben Harper gig, Dean’s girlfriend showed up without Dean.
Dean's sister, Anna.