READER REPORT:

Everybody dies, but not everybody lives

MELISSA BROMLEY
Last updated 05:00 15/01/2013

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You were our brother. Our friend. Our idol. Mr Popular. The star athlete. The cutie everybody knew.

And then suddenly you were gone.

We were young - just hitting teenage years - and we were on top of the world.

Your circle of friends ranged daily, everyone wanted just a little of your time. And you had enough for everyone. So much love in your heart, we wondered where it was stored on your tiny frame.

Some of us were lucky. We got everyday with you. Or everyday in the short time we had.

I remember my first day at our high school. The bus was early, and my friends were not here yet. But you were. A total stranger; you waved and came over to say hi.

That was just who you were. Friendly to everyone. That conversation didn't last long, but your infectious smile stuck with my all day.

It wasn't long before we were hanging out during every break from class.

You introduced me to your friends, and soon we were all tight.

Briefly, we became more than friends, and at just 14 years old, you had already figured out how to treat a girl. Smiles, phone calls, compliments, and challenging her to try new things out of her comfort zone.. like those back flips on the school field that bothered the teachers so much.

The "relationship" didn't last, but the friendship grew stronger and I began to look up to you even more.

I didn't realise our time was already drawing to a close. Friday, June 13th, 2003. I arrived at school at midday. You hadn't make it that day. It was early afternoon when I found out why.

I had been kicked out of class, as had an older girl who I didn't know. She knew I knew you and told me her mum was your nurse. You were sick. In the hospital. She told me you would probably be fine. And I believed you would be.

I mean, you were active, healthy, fit and only 14. You had to come through.

Sadly, this wasn't to be.

There was an airy sense at school the following monday. The frost had set like a thin layer of ice on the seats outside.

Perfect for you to slide along. But you never showed.

Your long time friend and the girl you had been spending time with were huddled under the trees, just watching, waiting. They had decided to tell our whole group what had happened to our faces, individually.

I will never forget their words. "Carl has gone home."

In my mind, I was stoked. You were better, and at home probably playing playstation. But im my heart I knew they meant something more.

On Sunday June 15th, 2003 at around 6am, your journey with us here had ended. You had been called home to heaven.

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You put up a good fight, but the infection was just too strong. Your family was at your bedside when you left this world, and in that I find peace.

In your 14 short years, you achieved so much. Experienced so much success. Felt love, and made others feel loved too.

See, everybody dies but not everybody lives. And in 14 years, you lived enough to make a lasting impression on our world.

There was a wake at your family home before your final goodbye. I remember a group of us wagging school to come and see you one last time, sneaking all the way to your house only to find a group of teachers were already there.

You touched the lives of so many people, from friends, classmates, fellow competitors, even teachers were crying for you.

Your send off was beautiful. Your brother, he reminded us of the cheeky kid, with the biggest smile, always running to get somewhere. The kid caught dancing around his room to his favorite songs.

But more importantly, he reminded us that you always had enough love and friendship to go around, and that we should remember that always.

This June it's 10 years since you left us. We have all grown up, finished school, some have been to uni, others now have families of their own. A couple have probably done both.

Over time we all drifted apart. But one thing is certain. We all miss you. And we love you.

Carl, you will always remain our inspiration. Our runner. Our brother, son, uncle and dearest friend.

We hold you in our hearts daily, and carry you with us wherever we go. Ten years is a long time, but it is also 10 years closer to being with you in heaven.

All my love,

M

In loving memory of Carl Warena Timi Dalby xox


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