Captain Eddy (2011)
What would you do if you were told that your life will end in two months?
Fourteen months ago, I heard the bad news that Eddy Stone had been diagnosed with cancer, and he had only two months to live.
Looking back, I think it was around 2002 when I first met Eddy. He was originally a friend of John, my husband, and all of us used to have a few drinks together almost every Friday or Saturday night, along with other friends. We call this smart, cynical man ‘Captain Eddy’ respecting his great life experiences on the sea.
Eddy was born in the UK and started his career at sea as a cadet in the Royal Navy when he was fifteen. He served in the Navy for more than twenty years before he became a navigator on commercial ships and tankers. He travelled all over the world. He eventually came to Australia, but always lived by the water. Eddy used to have a business called the Broadwater Ferry, and also an ice-cream boat business called Mrs Shippy.
Since he retired, he has lived in an old water front house in Biggera Waters, and has spent his days repairing and improving the house. All the walls are now covered by polished timber and the veranda he built is nice and cosy. He also has a house boat and two camper vans, and he is always working on them.
He said he didn’t feel anything when he heard of his cancer, and it did not sound real. He told his friends, and still it didn’t seem to make him sad. But when he told the news to his daughter in Perth, who is his only remaining family, she started crying and he then realised how sad it was for the first time. He started his first chemotherapy in November 2011.
He jokes about his sickness, and always stays positive. He doesn’t look much different these days to most people, but I can see that he now gets tired easily and cancer is slowly but surely affecting him.
We will all die one day, and we have to live until we grasp our last breath. What would you do if tomorrow you find out it’s your turn? Will you still smile like Eddy?
Eddy doesn’t deny his fear. But he still smiles, and tries to enjoy his life.
- ‘Captain Eddy’, QCP (Queensland Centre for Photography) exhibition: July 13 – August 11 2013 at Brisbane, Australia
On October 23 2014, Eddy passed away. It was 4 years after he had been told to live for 2 months. His best friend Guy held a big wake and a house full of people came to have some drinks for Eddy. We sat on sofas to listen to Judy, one of his close friend reading a last message from Eddy to everyone. We laughed and teared overnight. Slideshow photos of fun time with Eddy partying with friends were played in the background on the TV display.
After a month or so, my husband John received a letter from his attorney one day. The letter claimed that so many of his friends including John were on the list to receive some money. Eddy was always very social and loved his friends. He must had been thinking about each one of us before he’s gone.
I saw Eddy at the Gold Coast hospital about a couple weeks before he passed away. I brought some mango ice cream to his bed and he enjoyed a little taste. That became my last memory with Eddy.
Thank you so much for opening up about your life, Eddy. You will be missed. Awfully a lot.