Saturday 20 July 2013

How's your day, blog 112 reflections of a dying man

Your day? Blog 112 Reflections of a dying man


It’s Sunday morning and the sun is streaming in on the back of my neck with welcome warmth bringing cheer to my heart. As I sit and contemplate on my sofa, I could read my book, finish my cup of tea and have an anti-biotic. Waiting to pass from this world is both exciting and tiresome. My partner needs to move on and for this I need to get it over and done with.

The part to cherish is the time to say goodbye, contemplate what may have been and laugh about how expensive it is to die in NZ.

              ‘Oh yes, I was going to die last week, but I couldn’t afford it.’

So now the funeral, music , AV ,celebrant, cremation, insurance papers , new will, power of enduring attorney, rent, utilities , credit card up to date and the list goes on. Then you clean up your computer and delete all those names you can’t remember or who have not written in at least 6 months so your partner can click the button and say , ‘He’s down the Shute now’. If I had the energy Rodney would like me to write a little booklet, “the beginners guide to dying’. There is so much to know and so little time to learn about.

There could be an entire chapter on memorial catering choices. When I was told that the club sandwich, scone and a cuppa cost $7.50, my face puckered with the thought of 400 people or more coming to this party send off. Hell my partner could use the money as a deposit on an Auckland house. However Ham o the bone with rolls to make your own and cheese and Hummus for the vegetarians sounds like an easy option. Ladies bring a plate and a cash bar will be available was the old adage.


Being an environmental sort of a chap, I couldn’t bring myself to burn all that lovely wood. We have had an open fire this winter burning off cuts of kiwi fruit cases and if it’s not dry it smokes like a bastard. I mentioned this to my funeral director, a gorgeous gal, and asked about recycled cardboard.               ‘Peter, they are $950 each for cardboard.’

Well if you thought my face crimped like a hair iron with the price of a club sandwich, you would have thought I was paying for the Pope to say a few words. ‘I’m not paying for cardboard at that price even if it keeps an entire family in rice for a year.’

So we settled on a speedy cremation where only a hospice sheet bites the dust and I go down the Shute and am collected the next day in a box of my choice. Simple. No makeup, no hairdresser and no coffin costs, no pall bearers and now we can have the party where and when ever it suits as I’m in the box already with a bunch of flowers and a photo.

I don’t want anyone wearing black. Even if it is winter. Get our all the colour and fabulosity that befits a party. No dreary send off for this one.

However as the white pain sears any inspiration to ash as it permeates from a central point where they cut the cartilage of my ear out from an invasive cancer , I cannot help igniting an ember of imagination with a serious bit of reflection.

My colleagues tell me their children; now at university see our different context of our world. One wants to be a politician and another has a fully funded chemistry PHD. So, hope reigns in the light of global recession.

Blowing a little air on the embers of hope, means looking at life with a new paradigm.

Had I not been held hostage to my health and the hospital, I and my partner could live in a church in Southland with a manse, renovated into a one bedroom gorgeous place and the rest could be his studio as I write. We will explore the catkins and all places in the land of the Lord of the Rings. I’ve become good at growing a garden and although it is cold for a good part of the year, we’d be freehold for $79k.

Oh well, it is all reflections as last week I had a near miss when part of my liver infarct. Yes, sounds like a rude word, but part of it died from a blockage. Now that was pain. At least the ear pain will eventually subside and disappear as it heals.

However  folks, I was nearly not here to write this blog. There is little to write about when you have gone to ground like animals to lick your wounds and recover.

I’m not sure how many more blogs there will be. So you, have an extraordinary day and be grateful for everything you have.



  1. Dearest Peter, I've been following you here and hearing word of all you're going through. I wish there was something to be done, something that could change things, but we both know that isn't how the world works.

    All strength and love to you in this time.


  2. In my eyes, you are the creator and owner of fabulosity. You have given so much thanks you. Love you and admire you.
    Storm XX

  3. Your legacy of "Don't Postpone Joy" will always live on, Peter.
    Love and hugs,
    Judith xxx

  4. Dear Peter, thank you for making a difference in my life. Your energy is lasting and very special.
    Jillian xx

  5. Dear Peter
    Your one of the boys who has shown the rest of us how life should be lived and have NO regrets. Thinking of you in Lexington Kentucky USA
    Mark XXX

  6. Peter you are an inspiration to so many, including me. You have touched people's lives with your story, humor, courage, tenacity and kindness. You know you have made a difference in this world, a profound difference. I think of you often and my thoughts are on the express train as I type. Thank you!!
    Linda Guirey xx

  7. Darling Peter, "your generosity of spirit and the light and sunshine in your personality eminate like diamonds" somthing you wrote in my copy if Don't Postpone Joy. I turn that back to you Peter, you are and will always be a force for the light. My love and thanks for introducing Me and Gabe to the fabulosity and generosity of spirit is You and Rodney. Time soon for rest xxx Robyn

  8. Peter...your an amazing inspiration for everyone in the same boat as you...I esp liked listening to your talks at the Long Bay retreat....maybe miracles do happen an we get to meet again there next year...should that not happen...I thankyou for touching my will always be held in high regard in our club....
    lots of love xxx MILLY..aka Steve Macnee

  9. My Darling Brother can we say goodbye? When Yve brought me over from Aussie to see you I had the loveliest time with you and Rodney and Barney. I could not get hung up on saying goodbye, because it would have cut me up too much. I couldn't look back. I love our daily communications and somehow its easier to put it into words in an email. You have touched so many lives, and Rodney is a are so lucky to have him and he you. I love you both to death....pardon the pun!
    Love you so much - your sis Katie xxx

  10. Peter . You're an amazing man. I love your wicked sense of humour and matter-of-fact attitude. I have read your book Don't Postpone Joy and it never fails to make me smile/cry. You've touched a lot of people - that you haven't even met. Facing death with dignity is a big one and you're a bloody great example of how it should be done. I'm a fan and always will be. Arohanui. Kate. XX

  11. Thank you for all you are! No one else like you, and it is an honour to have met you and shared your laughter. Brightest of stars, your light is one of a kind. Much love and peace to you.

  12. Peter: You will be missed. You are an inspiration: someone who always provided a positive perspective. This world will miss a very unique person. Love Bruce

  13. Peter, I first met you and heard you speak in 2004 when as a nurse I attended a sexual health training course. Your words were powerful and inspirational. I admired your courage and strength. To this day I have never forgotten. In later years, I enjoyed getting to know you and Rodney but as always wish I could have spent more time listening to your stories and hearing your fabulous tales. I wish you both peace and love, you amazing, courageous men. Love Louise x

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