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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Saturday 7 December 2013

It has been a very hard, but special day.

Today I said goodbye to my beloved Denis.

He died at 5.10pm tonight. Peacefully, without fanfare, just as he lived.

They say that hearing is the last thing to go.

So loved by so many people. I reminded him of that near the end.

I sang him a lullaby, kissed his cheek and told him "Off you go now". He did.

He was so happy and ready for it to be over.

I am privileged to have been the one there holding his hand at the end.

The last messages I read out to him were from his darling daughters. He asked me to share them with you here.


A Goodbye Letter

Dear Dad,

I don’t really know how to write this – I’ve never felt more clumsy with words. But I know I’m luckier than most because we’ve had so much lovely time together and I get a chance to say Goodbye and so many daughters don’t get this chance.

I guess I just want you to know I love you and feel so incredibly fortunate to have been brought up by such a wonderful dad. You taught me to strive to be caring, compassionate, and strong and purposeful. I say this because I want you to know that you don’t have to worry about me – I feel positive and inspired by the beautiful things in life and I will take good care of myself and stay true to my heart. I will always look out for Alice and we’ll stay strong together through whatever life throws our way – sisters united,  no matter what.

Thank you for all your words on the blog – there are so many lessons and memories recorded there that I know I will read and reread whenever I need advice, to be cheered up, and to feel close to you.

I know you love me and are proud of me. I’ve never wanted for anything from you. You have been the most wonderful father a daughter could ever dream of.

I wish you sweet dreams, Daddy, forever your Little Girl. 

Goodbye, Daddyo. I love you.


Haiku by Alice

Some Moments in Time
Floating through my memory
I create for you

Hockey Sticks and Balls
Daddy taught me everything
Goals I have many...

Spelling Must Be Right
Even on a shopping list
CusTURD was the best!  (that was Sylvia not me actually!)

Dinosaur Project
Dad's help and coloured paper
Came top of the class.

Warm Sand, Crashing Waves
Shiny shells and Cuttlefish
Christmas by the sea

Hit the fence for four
No this wasn't the ashes
French Cricket, Dad rules!

I was only five
Numbers crunching, brain hurting
Pontoon twenty one!

Midnight wake me up!
Moon is out, the tide is right
Fishing with my Dad

Spiders on the floor
Out of the wood, hairy legs
Daddy put them out!

Favourite moments
Running, laughing, stories and fun
Daddy is the word

A pillar of strength
From this life to the next one
You will always be



  1. Thank you Tracey for sharing this with us. I too feel privileged to have known Denis, to have known you, and to have travelled with you both over these past four years. This has been an extraordinary saga of courage and love, and the lessons I have learned will remain with me all my life. This last post of yours, and Denis' daughters, has somehow added beauty to the sadness. My thoughts are with you.

  2. Vale Denis, and thank you.

    Thank you also to Tracey, to Denis's two daughters and to his step son for sharing all of this with us. May your love and cherished memories always give you strength.

    The world is a richer place because of Denis. He will not be forgotten.

  3. I never met you or Denis face to face, Tracey, but it was all too clear to me that you were a remarkable couple and a man of Denis's calibre is hard to replace.

    Take care,

    Roger Rivenell

  4. Love & peace to you Tracey.
    RIP Denis

    From Someone who has read and followed your journey.
    Beautiful writing by clearly very special & remarkable people x

  5. So sad, so beautiful. "A time for every purpose under heaven". I treasure always my friendship with Denis, and all he taught me. That will never leave. Heartfelt sympathy to Tracey, Christian, and Denis's beloved "girls". My best hopes for you all, with love,

    Julie Marsh.

  6. Thank you Tracey for taking time out from your own grief to share this with us and giving us a chance to farewell Denis on this blog where we have all shared so much - goodbye, dear Denis, I shall never forget you.

  7. Farewell Denis. Those of us who knew you only through Twitter loved you anyway, as your spirit and intelligence shone through in every communication. Rosemary Tipping.

  8. Thank you Tracey for sharing this with us. I feel a bit odd commenting as I only knew Denis through Twitter and this blog, but I like many others feel so fond of him. He was great to talk with and generous to everyone online. I'm so sorry for your loss but glad the pain is over and that he had such a loving peaceful passing. Thank you again and best wishes to your whole family.

  9. I've only just heard....

    Farewell Dear Friend..... Even though I am positively shattered that you are gone, I'm glad that you are no longer in pain, Denis. I will miss you in ways that words can never describe, and so will every other student and staff member that you left your eternal mark on at UNE.

    Big hugs and much love to Tracey and the rest of the family. You know how to find me Tracey, so don't forget that you aren't alone, my friend. Denis and yourself were so kind to me while I was "coming out" in Armidale, which is something that I'll always remember and be thankful for. Denis wouldn't want you feeling alone.

    Much love....

  10. My sympathy to Denis's family and friends. I knew him fleetingly. He was a brave man.

  11. Farewell dear Denis! Rest now in Peace!!
    Dear Tracey, Christian, Sylvia & Alice ... we are with you in mind and spirit, as are all the others who followed this blog ... much love from Tahsinah & family.

  12. Thank you Tracey for taking the time to share with us. Although we have not met, and although I met Denis for little more than 30 minutes, you have both been significant as, like many others, I shared your journey. Peace with all of you.


  13. Such a beautiful tribute to a wonderful person who was part of my life through the companionship of Twitter and his blog. We are all companions to each other in this rippling-out effect that life has. Thank you Denis.

  14. Tracey: thank you for sharing this with us all here who have followed Denis's journey with his unwelcome stranger. Thank you too for taking such wonderful care of our friend, a task that I know had to have been at times stressful and exhausting and enraging and sad. We are all so grateful that Denis had someone as wonderful as you in his life. Please take care of yourself now. I'm sending you and Denis's daughters prayers of strength to get through the days ahead.

    Alice and Sylvia: Thank you for sharing your wonderful dad with us. My thoughts and prayers are with you, so that you may always remember him running, laughing, joking, and...correcting your spelling. He'll always be with you in your hearts and in ours.

    Denis: I'm grateful that you are finally free of all the pain and indignities this tumor brought to your life and now we can all remember you as you were at the peak of good health, your wit and laughter. You were one of the first friends I made at SCB and I will always regret that we never were able to meet in person, but I'm so glad to have had you in my life. Especially so at the end, when your blogs gave me regular reminders of why the work I do with oncologists is important and insight on how on the other side of clinical trials and drug rollouts are people who are wise and wonderful. Thank you for being such a wonderful friend. I'm praying that now you and your family will have peace now that you are no longer struggling the binds of your unwelcome stranger.

  15. I dreamt about Denis last night. I'd lost my luggage and he was there to sort it out for me. Denis was my mentor, friend, and colleague, and I shall miss him terribly.

    Thank you for such a beautiful, touching posting, Tracey. How devastating and yet how profound for you to have been there at his moment of death. Such moments are rare, true gifts, and, in the end, worth the pain, although we would never choose it. Your many friends will help you take your next step.

    Thank you Alice and Sylvia for sharing with us your most private and beautifully written tributes to your wonderful father. You both have his talent for writing.

    Tracey, our sympathy and best wishes to you and Christian, from Carl and Joan.

  16. time is suspended now for a while for you all. a strange time.

    when time starts again, tracey, you should put this in a book to help guide the rest of us in the way you travelled with Denis. indeed, love is a many-splendoured thing.

    susie d.

  17. Thank you Tracey and Denis,

    Soon after we met Denis in about 1993 we so impressed by him that we invited him to be a director of our NGO, Benevolent Organisation for Development, Health & Insight (BODHI) ( He agreed, so easily that we underestimated how special that was, as we have been completely unable to find another director, despite asking several other people (in recent times, after his illness started.)

    For almost two decades Denis was incredibly helpful to BODHI. For at least ten years he maintained our website, essentially single-handedly. Again, we underestimated how skilled and valuable that was.

    In 2010 BODHI established 4 annual scholarships for girls in Bangladesh in Denis’s name, eg see ;

    We are sure the recipients of this scholarship will be very sad to hear this news.

    We hope all these tributes are of some help to Tracey and the rest of the family


    Colin and Susan Butler

  18. I only knew of you both through this blog like others who have commented on here. Thank you for taking the time to post on here and share those beautiful words.

    As someone with a husband on the brain cancer journey, we found Denis's words incredibly inspiring on so many occasions. As a carer I also got great comfort from reading the occasional post from Tracey.

    My sympathy to you all - take care of yourselves.

  19. Goodbye Denis and thank you.

    I will miss your presence in my timeline: gentle, warm, honest, witty and wise. 140 characters reveal so much. Yours were gold. Beautiful words.

    I feel privileged to have known you, even in this small way.

    Thank you, Tracey for taking the time to share this on the blog. My thoughts are with you all.


  20. Dear Tracey:

    I started following this blog only recently when I came to know about it through Dipen. I see how Denis touched people’s lives; you both became tremendous inspiration to me. I’m very sad that I never met Danis personally. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family my dear. I hope to meet you some day. Denis is now resting in eternal peace, and he is happy.

    Please take care of yourself.


  21. I was nearly going to miss putting my feelings down here because I felt you had to read so many it may have been another little straw in a large pile. But as I read his magic words, his stories and remembrances, his laughter and his anger and soothed OUR sorrow, I felt I had to pass on the feeling I have of loss. Loss of a friend who was only a computer friend but a friend who came to life with the way he could help us all to see and feel his joy in life. My deepest sympathy to you and the girls, Tracey. You had a winner with that man of yours! :'(

  22. I only ever knew dying Denis so there was not a huge shock yesterday - just as the day before with Nelson Mandela - with whom Den now appropriately shares a remembrance.

    Being prepared does not stem the tears though and this place, Tracey your post, Sylvia and Alice your writings and all the comments, reminds me that My Unwelcome Stranger will also be something I've lost.

    Tracey - my love.

  23. I never met Denis but I knew him from his tweets. Such an inspiration! I am sad he's gone but relieved that he suffers no more. Love to his wife and daughters, of whom he was so proud. Margaret Simkin

  24. Goodbye Denis Wright - Tracey's Beloved, Christian's friend and Step-Dad, Sylvie and Alice's dearest of all fathers .... and my friend who truly "heard" me in this dastardly, challenging and privileged role of "carer".

    I can barely speak with the sorrow I feel.

    So...fragments of two poems written by Denis's friend, and poet, Dr Ashley Ng doing it for me. We will miss his presence in our lives dreadfully.
    But we will not miss his presence in our inner worlds, for there he will always be.
    ( goes without saying...I love you.)

    "When a good man dies

    When a good man dies, the World will make its turn
    The Sun shall mark its rise, the Moon still casts
    A wan and silver light through clouds and thrones
    That drift through whispered nights until their last

    When a good man dies, the rains will break and fall
    And flowing rivers bear petals afloat
    The oceans heave, and still the tides will call
    The sailors and fishermen to their boats

    When a good man dies, Earth’s heart is sorely rent
    And earthquakes stir the roots of sleeping trees
    Till trembling from their branches, spirits spent
    As all their memories fall as Autumn leaves

    When a good man dies, so weighed against his worth
    The nightingale will sing without its mirth"


    I thought I heard your laughter at the door
    I left it open just so on the chance
    The wind would play again, just as before
    And lead this Summer’s leaves into a dance

    I thought I saw your smile, I think, perhaps
    It was the sunlight though, I may have stared
    Too hard upon the space where you had sat
    Beneath the window on your favourite chair

    Goodbye Den, my best boy-girlfriend.
    Thank you....thank you....xx

  25. Goodbye Denis, I will miss your presence but always have your message of thoughtfulness and understanding. Thank you Tracey, Sylvia and Alice for your great generosity to us on this day, my sympathy goes out to you and to Christian - the remarkable family of a wonderful man. Trish x

  26. Thank you for posting the news, Tracey. I only knew Denis through twitter, and then this blog, but we had many fun chats. Mostly silly stuff, but he was devilishly good at that. His strength and dignity were defining. My sincere condolences to you all. I know your loss is great, but I hope you keep the riches he gave you close to your hearts. x.Vivienne.x

  27. Thank you Denis. Rest in peace.

  28. I am crying for the loss of such an inspiration Man. Thank you so much Denis for how you have shown me how to look at challenges in my life. People such as you are far a few. Sincerely Robert Voyles Ohio (USA)

  29. I love how Denis is still alive for so many of us as we address our postings to him. I half expect him to respond. He'll never die in my heart, that's for sure.

  30. Thank you Tracey, for being so gracious in your time of mourning. Thank you Sylvia & Alice, for allowing your words & thoughts to be shared with complete strangers. Thank you Christian for doing as much as you did for Denis & not objecting to being part of a story. I can't begin to understand your loss.

    Denis was one of the first people to follow me on Twitter, which I regarded as an honor. Why would this highly educated & interesting man want to be bothered reading the blatherings of a Yankee transplanted to Texas, complaining about the heat, & practically frothing at the mouth over U.S. politics? Read them he did, & we discussed these matters (& others) at length - 140 characters & spaces at a time. When I read some of the stories on this blog, I wondered even more. Denis seemed to be interested in everyone, no matter where or what they come from. A rare attitude, I'm sure this is why so many "strangers" are also mourning his passing.

    I'm glad Denis was lucid until at least very near the end, I don't know his condition after his last posting & it's none of my business. His matter of fact tone always amazed me, saying This is what's happening to me - not Why is this happening to me? Even close to death, he was teaching us. I'm going to miss that attitude more than I can express.

    Thank you Denis for the gift of knowing you, & thank you family for sharing him all this time. My heartfelt condolances on what is your true loss.

    Peggy Larson - aka Pegs

  31. Vaya con Dios Deniss.
    Tracy my heartfelt condolences. Deniss gave me the answer I was looking for and that changed the way I see things. He became my guiding light ....he will always be. Deniss and you will be always in my heart . My name is Silvia I am from Mexico.I got a diagnostic 3 years ago. (phd_cota )

  32. I discovered this blog so late, just when Denis is no longer with us. It is a magnificent, uplifting tale in the face of tragedy.

    My wife died of a glioblastoma brain tumour last year, she lived less than a year after a diagnosis. We found that when medical science fails, the most powerful weapons are love and courage - it won't cure you, but it will bring peace and acceptance to all. To our surprise, we had both of those in plenty, and it made her passing easier and her surviving family's bereavement also easier, much easier than I feared. Denis clearly had a lot of both love and courage, so we wish all his family the very best for the future

  33. Thank you Tracey. Sending you best wishes from a fellow Armidalian and follower of Denis' tweets...what a long four years...which have left us all the richer. Vale Denis.


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