My Eulogy for my dear friend Cory.
My name is Emmah and I am a long-time friend of Cory’s. Standing up here today, having to speak at this event, is not exactly what Cory and I ever talked about being his reality, so as I struggled to put words onto my paper, I have come up with just a few memories of Cory and life with Cystic Fibrosis, the disease that did not define who he was, yet allowed him to be a true fighter.
Like us all here today, the reality of what has happened not only shocks me but leaves my heart broken.
As we all slowly come to terms with the loss of Cory, if it is one thing, I have learnt from having Cystic Fibrosis,
it never gets easier; we just get stronger.
I was only a kid when Cory and I met, like the whole Cystic Fibrosis family, we all started our journey together.
Many nights led into many weeks where we would undergo intravenous treatment and spend our days hospitalised together. This is where the bond of our CF family began. Being sick and stuck amongst the hospital walls wasn’t easy. Our families would visit most days if they could, but it was when they couldn’t be there that us with CF really began to bond.
Each admission, there would be at least 10 of us with Cystic Fibrosis undergoing treatment.
Cory and I were often hospitalised at the same time, amongst a handful of others.
As young children, we went through sometimes, the unimaginable, Cory and I only recently spoke of the movie, Five Feet Apart and how that seemed to have so many similarities to our own upbringing. That movie was our childhood. Yet seemed exactly like that now, just a movie.
It was forever ago.
Cory laughed as he began to reminisce with me, the nights spent in hospital we would all be in our beds, supposedly sleeping, but after the 10pmdrug round, we’d all be awake, so we would lay in bed talking out loud to one another from our beds until we’d fall back asleep.
We had nights where we would miss our families and friends; so, we would all pile into the one bed and comfort one another. Between our nighttime coughing and laughter, somehow these are what got us through.
Other times, we would anxiously wait for one another to return from the operating theatre as surgery of each other was often something we witnessed.
It was this side of CF that created the CF family we had. We were young kids who understood what we were all going through, we experienced trauma and at times suffered, but we experienced it together.
Over the last few years, we attended more celebrations of life, like today, for the many of our childhood friends.
It was normal for us and each time it never gets easier, we would turn up, like today, and between us with CF we had a silent acknowledgement to one another, an appreciation of the life we know we live and the acknowledgement of our reality.
Like many, I know that Cory wouldn’t want us sad today, if anything, he would be pissed off that he was missing out on one hell of a party.
It was only last year in January we were all brought together, and our group seemed to have shrunk in numbers. For the few of us that were there, we had a photo and I remember looking at the photo after thinking, gosh who’s next.
Despite the bad times, we had so many fun memories. We spent many years on Cystic Fibrosis camps, it was these camps that allowed us to be “free” of CF for a week, we got to hang out like “normal” kids and go and experience life.
For many years we had what you could say was like a CF gang, Cory was always amongst the mischief, he never wanted to miss out. Our little Cory, he was exactly that.
He loved to be amongst the excitement, whatever was happening, he would never miss out.
The amount of times we would be telling a story and I can just see him now, he would sit there so animated and wanted to be a part of the story so bad, he would often jump in and have his own two cents worth as if he too was there, he was like an excited puppy.
As we all got older, life continued, and we all seemed to go our separate ways yet was always available at the touch of a keyboard.
Our friendship was the type you didn’t have to speak all the time but when you did, it was like we spoke every day.
I always smile when I think of Cory and his oversized suit, his shoulder pads always seemed too big for his own shoulders and the suit jacket would often seem ridiculously large, yet he somehow had style about him.
And my god could he talk. I think back to the many events we have attended over the years and far out, you could honestly leave him in a room full of strangers and by the end of the night, everyone would have met him.
He could talk under water and loved to socialise.
He had a glow about him when he would be surrounded by people. He was always amongst the action and would never miss out on an opportunity to have a drink or a chat.
Cory was always the life of the party with an absolute zest for life.
In November last year, Cory and I went on what you could say a big night, we shot toquilla and continuously stole vodka cruisers from a local pub and despite the struggle in his breathing and his need of a break every so often, we danced on the dance floor in our own worlds until about 5 am… I think the hangover stuck around for a good week…
The next morning, I felt incredibly guilty, Cory had been telling me the night before about how had been taking different animal “drugs” to help slow the process of his body shutting down and he went on to tell me about how intense his treatment routine was daily and what his next 6 months looked like.
As he hadn’t been long listed on the transplant list, he knew he had a battle ahead of him, but he reassured me that night, whatever happens, happens. He was determined to continue to live everyday as if it was his last and that is exactly what he did.
Dying was never something Cory believed would happen to him. A conversation no-one would dare have, but for us, it seemed okay.
We had two conversations about it. The first time, I watched him almost breathless as he tried to almost “hide” how sick he was, his CF no longer seemed as invisible, so I asked him straight out, “do you think you’ll be here this time next year” Well if looks could kill, I wouldn’t have made it through that night.
It was the first time we spoke about, the first time it wasn’t us talking about the loss of a friend of ours, we were talking about him. Cory just looked at me and after a long few minutes he said…. of course.
Cory didn’t seem to catch a break this past 6 months, from infections to other complications, he started to go downhill.
It was only a few months ago, we were taken back to our childhood.
We were both hospitalised, the same time, the same hospital but due to all the bugs between us, we were unable to physically be in the same room.
So, we found ourselves up late, facetiming, talking nonsense and just being there for one another, like we did as kids.
Looking back, I don’t even think our conversations would have made sense to anyone else but those last late-night calls, I will cherish.
As I look around this room, it’s evident to see how many lives Cory has touched.
He was a true bloody Larkin, full of life with an infectious personality that we all just had to be around.
I don’t know how to end this, because there are so many stories I could tell about Cory, he was cheeky and a bit of a shit stirrer, but we all know this.
He was the most relaxed guy I knew who introduced me into the language of a true Aussie.
Nothing was ever too hard for Cory.
There was never a day he wasn’t putting other people first; he just wanted the best for his family and his friends.
He wore his heart on his sleeve and was forever seeing the good in everyone.
So, I’m not going to say goodbye, because that’s not how this works.
Cory, you will always be loved, never forgotten and forever missed.
I will forever have you in my heart, cherish our memories, keep your secrets safe and one day, I will see you again