a eulogy for my big brother

Hello, I’m Suzi. I’m Trent’s little sister which means I have known him for 21 years. I have always totally admired both Trent and Cassie and I have always tried to be just like them. I think however I chased Trent more because his approval always seemed somewhat unattainable. This chasing started from a very young age. He recently told me that when I was about 8, so he was 12, I would run into his room and ask him if he wanted to play a game with me. When he said no, I would punch him in the arm as hard as I could then run out crying to tell mum that he had punched me. I always have been an actress. 

At around 13, Trent and I started having ‘adult’ conversations. Basically, I would go sit at the door of his bedroom while he lectured me for two hours on something very ‘adulty’ which I was just happy to be a part of. In one of these chats, he said to me “I’m an atheist”. So naturally the next day I told mum and dad I, too, was an atheist. We are saying a little prayer later, which is proof if we ever needed it that funerals are for the living. 

At 14, Trent handed me the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy and said “I want you to be the first to know this stuff, not the last.” My friends still don’t know “that stuff” so he truly was way ahead of the times. Also at 14, I started noticing his friends. I used to think, “Wow if Trent likes them they must be like incredible guys so I should probably think about locking one down soon.” And they are all definitely here today. So, I’m single. So is Hana. 

I hope Trent is proud of how I am embarrassing myself. I think he would’ve found a really inappropriate and somewhat uncomfortable eulogy pretty funny, so I’ve peppered some “fucks” in here to try and push some boundaries. Trent and I shared a sense of humour. We loved the US TV show The Office. We would watch it in these hard and long spurts. That’s what she said.

When Trent was diagnosed in July 2016, I was 18. So, lots of our adult relationship was shaped by his cancer. I had just moved back home from a short stint in Melbourne when Trent got back from South America. Less than a week after his return, he got a migraine. The battle begins. 

About a month after his first surgery Mum, Hana, Trent and I were going to play some tennis when Trent noticed an ad on the side of a bus. It was an ad for a Tony Robbins four day seminar which started the following day. We were all unemployed at this point so Trent called up and tried to get a free ‘perk of having cancer’ ticket. It didn’t work, sad face, but after mum heard Trent begging on the phone, she came home and told Dad to make it happen and buy us all tickets. Those four days changed all of our lives for many reasons, but it was massive for Trent who said to me afterwards that he wasn’t going to live every day assuming the cancer would kill him, he’d be proactive and not be afraid to think long term. He wasn’t being unrealistic but this attitude shift meant he could get off the fucking couch and make shit happen. 

We can thank Tony Robbins or the five thousand other people who were there that weekend but I really think it was Hana, Trent and I who did the heavy lifting to make a fucking change in our lives, and truthfully it changed all of our lives. This really begun my adult relationship with Trent. For the next few weeks Hana, Trent and I would walk to Westmead every day for a radiation appointment, we often got a caramel latte and banana bread, donned as a ‘caz lat’ and ‘b-loaf’ and we’d talk about everything. Philosophy, history, science, books, films, people. 

I said earlier about how I feel Trent’s approval seemed always out of my reach. I have to thank him for that because it meant I was constantly adjusting, finding ways to better myself and improve the lives of others. Now I’m at a point where I believe as humans the idea that we can do better is a massive part of why we keep living. So we can be better sisters, brothers, parents, children, friends and people. 

On one of our radiation walks, Trent and Hana were wondering how the ozone layer has a hole and I thought this was my chance. As it happens I have a little year 12 chemistry under my belt and I explained to them some ozone science. You always knew if you were saying something Trent thought was useful and interesting because he’d actually shut the fuck up and listen. He was a talker. But what valuable things he had to share, so we’ll forgive him.

Fast forward to July 2018 when my parents, Trent and Cassie came and met me in Europe and we did some cool travelly stuff. The last time I saw Trent in great(ish) shape. Some great memories I will of course hold close to my heart forever. Trent at this point was having some medical marijuana drops to chill out his anxiety. “But how did you get the medical marijuana across international borders” I hear you ask? Well long story short, my mum is an international drug smuggler now. Proof, that a mother really will do anything for her child. If there are any cops in the room, we destroyed all evidence and I’m lying. My mum’s a badass.

My brother. I promise I won’t ever tell mum or dad about the parties you had when they were out of town. You are my hero. I am so proud of who I am, and there is no way in hell I would be anywhere near this person that I am if it wasn’t for you. Whether you just gave me a look, smile, a word or a 2,3,4 hour schpeel about The Count of Monte Christo, you were adding tremendous value into my life, as you have in so so so many other lives. 

I am so sad that I’ll never get to meet your kids, and I’m so sad you’ll never get to meet mine. I will tell them of you so fondly. I will teach them, as you taught me, to prioritise fun as when we are having fun we are our most kind, generous, selfless and considerate selves. I love you, I miss you, thank you for exisiting. If God is real, I reckon Trent would have effectively argued his way to the top and is now the new ruler.