Live’s cut too short – Kayde Russo and Peter Gray

We said goodbye way too soon  last Wednesday to Kayde, he was only 25. By most standards he’d had a difficult life full of health challenges but not to him. He was the eternal optimist, living his life to the full, one of his favorite sayings – ‘we’re living the dream’. At the celebration of his life last Wednesday in Bacchus Marsh we heard how he’d lived his life. He loved sport and although he’d been in a wheelchair for the past ten years he’d played cricket with his sister Meg as his runner. The  sister who also suffers from the same childhood arthritis that he had. He was a lifeguard at the local swimming pool, a position he also found amusing, although he was an invaluable second pair of eyes and would sit there with his mate and say ‘we’re living the dream’.

Jack, Kayde, Erin and Meg, Boxing Day 2014
Jack, Kayde, Erin and Meg, Boxing Day 2014

Five of his mates stood up and spoke about their loss and their love for their mate, who in their words, had made them better people.  His best mate couldn’t speak as he was too emotional but another friend read out a beautiful poem that he had written.  Kayde suffered from cerebral palsy, amongst other health issues.  He had spent way too long in hospitals throughout his life, as had his sister who now works in hospitals wishing to ‘give something back’. One of the stories they told was of two of them ordering $60.00 of MacDonalds to be delivered by his taxi driver – we all wondered how much MacDonalds that would be!  It sounds like he had some amazing ‘permanent’ taxi drivers who drove not only him but his friends around.  This would have been when one of his parents wasn’t being his driver.

They are a tight-knit family who cared for Kayde and made his life amazing.  He fought to the last moment, even when they said it was okay to go he said he wanted to stay.  He lived more in his twenty-five years than others live in their entire lives.  He loved going out with his friends.  He met many of his sporting heroes.  He loved the Bulldogs and was due to travel to Port Adelaide to see them in a few weeks.  He was leading the footy tipping and loved playing super coach.  He was the statistician for his local footy club.  The Doggies song was the last song played at his graveside.

What was also amazing was that his death and funeral arrangements were spread via social media.  There were far more tributes made to Kayde via facebook than in the traditional print media.  The celebration of his life was also spread via facebook, it is how I found out the day and venue for the celebration of his life and how I was able to share it with other family members. One of the last things his parents said to him was to kick his home goal and run through into the arms of his Uncle Pete.  Uncle Pete is his mother’s brother and my cousin Peter.  He also left us way too early on December 23, 1990 a month before his thirty-first birthday.   He had married Lee the year before.  We all still miss him as we will miss Kayde.

Peter and Lynda at Croydon
Peter and Lynda at Croydon

Social media wasn’t around then so his tributes were in the print media, and there were many of them.  Peter had played football and loved his boat and water skiing.  Many weekends were spent at Eildon. He was the older brother I didn’t have and never seemed to mind his younger cousin tagging along.  They are and will both be sorely missed but they live on in our hearts and memories.


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