Peter always treasured the world that was going on around him. You’ll find these people along your way, kind souls who are stoked simply on being alive. There’s a calm to be found in their presence, a sense that all is the way it should be, and it’s bloody beaut just like that. Something he especially loved was taking a few minutes at a lookout. I’m sure at similar moments when he wasn’t with me he’d light up a joint to mark the moment, but when it was me and Super Dad, we’d just take a seat on a smooth rock, a grassy knoll, soak it all up, watch the world put on its show. He’d usually drop some sort of wisdom about whatever genius insights were passing through his thoughts. He felt the need to be a Dad even though he was far more a best mate than a Father.
On Sunday, March 27, 2011, I was living in Karratha; the heart and soul of Australia’s most incredible wild northwest Pilbara. Across the street from me was a place I liked to call Mt K. It was a 15 minute walk through some unforgiving West Oz shrub to a lookout straight out of the Super Dad playbook. Half an hour before sunset, I packed a VB in one pocket, my mobile phone in the other and set off up Mt K.
When I reached the top to take my seat, crack the Vic and admire the pristine sunset that the West does best, I called Dad to check in, say G’day, share the moment with the person I’d most love to have there in the flesh. He wasn’t in great health to say the least. They’d found a cancerous abcess in his lungs that was going to require chemo to beat. Far from being downtrodden, Pete was actually excited that the cause of his poor health had been located and he was ready to fight that cancer to hell in his signature smooth, graceful style that only the truly cool cats of this Earth can understand. If there was one thing Peter Carroll oozed in abundance, it was cool.
I told him I was all booked in to be home around Anzac Day, that work was something I’d rather never do but it was all going well and that if we ever get the chance, he has to come over to surf Gnarloo some day soon. The sun was gone, the sky a radiant iron ore tinged golden brown and Dad started to cough over the phone.
“Sorry, Dumb Kid, I’ve got a bit of a cough. I’ll give you a bell tomorrow mate.”
“Sure thing, Super Dad. Speak then mate.”
I took the last sip of VB, placed the phone back in my pocket and made my way back down Mt K before dark.
Moments later, on the other side of Australia at the Central Coast of NSW, Peter Joseph Carroll’s lungs exploded in his chest. The most kind, gentle, caring soul I’ve ever known endured five minutes of what I can only imagine is the most horrifically painful, frighteningly gruesome and completely undeserved way to bid this world adieu…
It’s been a very long road attempting to mentally recover from Peter’s passing. After five years I don’t think it will ever be possible to truly accept the events of March 27, 2011. Everyone has to die. I’m cool with that. But I’m forever haunted by the manner in which such a fine man was put to pasture. On frequent occasions since that day I’ve drunk myself into oblivion, disappeared into my shell shocked little world somewhere overlooking a beach in the middle of the night, knowing full well that if I ever get the chance to meet my Maker, I will throw every single ounce of strength into belting the sick fucker’s face into a pulp. But what brings me back is feeling confident now that Peter himself would have no ill feelings. If you’re prepared to receive the best this world has to offer then you have to accept the worst too.
Peter Carroll, you were without question the greatest thing that ever happened to me. I very much doubt there’ll ever be someone on Earth with whom my every single memory is nothing but pure joy. Five years on mate, you’re still front and centre of my every thought, I can see your smile, I can hear your voice and I am acutely aware that I am the luckiest man ever.
Loving you forever,