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My heart is stuck and aches. My eyes have cried so much they are almost squeezed shut. I'm devastated. My thoughts are washing-machine-cycle-like. I keep going over-and-over a wishing ritual.
I wish I hugged you harder last week when we met for brunch.
I wish I helped more.
I wish I reminded you more how much you are loved and needed by so many people.
I wish I could wind back the clock.
Greg was a genuine and treasured friend for many years. He was a savvy journalist and talented interviewer, honest, and had a great wit. He was kind-hearted, he adored his family and made time for true friends. I loved how he was tremendously down-to-earth.
He didn't give a toss about wearing a suit and being a celebrity; he preferred to wear an old pair of jeans and toil away on his old mini or motorbike, or play music.
Greg and I bonded over both being journalists, being raised in the Bay of Plenty, running, parenting, and being Achilles charity ambassadors. Through this charity we have helped lots of disabled athletes to run marathons and half marathons in New York, Rotorua, Wellington and Auckland. These are treasured memories.
Helping others was heart-felt for Greg. We both own identical blessed greenstone Maori carvings from a blind runner who we helped achieve a marathon dream. However, it was actually Greg who was the most emotional at that marathon's end. "You'll never know how much this has boosted my confidence," he told us, while tears escaped down his cheeks unexpectedly.
Most recently Greg and I bonded over both playing the saxophone. We talked about playing the song The Race by the band Yello, soon.
I talked him into doing countless run events over the years and we'd train together in the Waitakeres. He'd complain when I made him train even if it was raining. But as he lifted his legs, it always lifted his mood. It helped his happiness levels and he always remarked on that fact. It was a therapy I knew he needed. He also loved the laughs along the way and the reward of coffee always at the end.
Greg was struggling with lots of life issues that were frustrating him and also tearing his heart apart. The past year had been hard for him. Depression was also gripping him tight and taking him into a dark abyss.
I was checking in with him, making sure he was using all the right science-backed strategies. He was fighting hard to keep that black dog away. He reached out to me for help and now my heart is free-falling because I couldn't catch him at that moment he fell the hardest.
We were having lots of courageous conversations and talked about strategies to help him to feel healthier and happier on his return from being overseas.
My heart goes out to Greg's beautiful family and all his other friends he adored. I know their hearts will be free falling too right now.
We all miss this kind-hearted bloke who personally was like a brother to me.
WHERE TO GET HELP:
If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.
• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757