On Monday 12th September 2011, a close friend of many years, David Michael Hall was blindsided when he suffered a serious seizure. This occurred with no previously known serious illnesses.
Who was David?
David was a regular, dedicated family man with four beautiful daughters.
I have clear and vivid memories of how bloody hard he and and his wife Bev worked. For many years, they both did the graveyard shift stacking shelves at the local supermarket from midnight – 6am so they could make ends meet for their family. A little later in life, David started his own business as a handyman. An active, extremely talented and modest self taught tradesman plying his trade throughout Melbourne (and sometimes up the bush). Through my work (strata management) I was privileged to work with David, referring him to clients for every job under the sun, replacing windows, painting a fence, doing some gardening, planting some trees, he could do anything and everything. The one thing that I heard over and over again after he had attended a job, would be an unsolicited phone call from a client just to say “That David did an amazing job, and he was such a nice fellow.”
How often do I receive phone calls of praise for tradies? Sadly, very very rarely, and this is telling of David’s character and integrity
He had a wicked sense of humour, and always easy to laugh, some say he was a a great doppelganger for Tom Selleck, ie Magnum PI.
The day after his seizure on Tuesday 13th September, David was diagnosed as having a malignant glioma (Brain Cancer).
By Friday in the same week, David was in for emergency surgery to remove this from his head; brain surgery involving 57 stitches.
What followed was an epic battle over the course of a year, with countless treatments to buy more time with his family, but ultimately the prognosis was not good. Davids condition declined rapidly, the cancer spread, and his physical and mental condition declined. The cancer eventually took Davids life on Tuesday 23rd October 2012, just over a year after the seizure.
His family made a most simple and wonderful tribute in the herald sun –
David Michael HALL
I cant help but cry as I write this, it is inexplicably sad that David was taken away from his family, so cruel, unfair.
In May 2012, before David passed, I wrote him a letter. I had been overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness as I felt there was nothing I could do. But then it struck me, I can help. In this letter I asked if he would allow me to raise money in his name, towards a cancer charity. I enjoy cycling, and clearly recall in the past David’s bemused expression as I explained that I would ride to the dandenongs and back on a Saturday morning ‘for fun’. I hoped to take something I love doing, for someone I love, to help fight this horrible illness. In a strange way I felt that if I set myself an extremely difficult physical challenge, pushing myself further than before, my suffering on the road, would in some ways reflect David’s own battle. More importantly, making something good out of all of the bad.
I only saw David once after I wrote this letter. I had been asking for a long time if he would come visit me so I could make him a coffee (I am a proud hack home-barista). He came to visit me at work, I made his a latte, and as blokes do, we had a good chin wag, shooting the breeze. By this time, David had been undergoing treatment for 9 months, and was not in a good way. During his visit, I was stoked to hear that he accepted my offer to raise money in his name. Later on, one of Davids daughters told me that my offer had lifted his spirits when there was very little light in his life, and this by itself validated my decision.
Whilst I cant recall much detail from our ‘blokes chat time’ that day, there is one memory that will never leave me. As David went to leave, he had a hint of a smile under that beautiful moustache of his, but a sad look in his eyes, as I showed him out the door, I shook his hand and his eyes welled with tears. I casually said “We will catch up and i’ll make you another coffee soon.” Whilst David must have been 100% sure, I think I was numb to the fact that, after this simple handshake, I would never see David ever again.
I consider myself a person who guards their emotions closely, but I want the world to know that I feel privileged to have known David, and consider that I have not only lost a good friend, but a man I considered as somewhat of a second Dad.