Yesterday I had a moment when I finally understood the enormity of what my father had felt when the world discovered John Lennon had been shot.
It's over. With Paul Hester gone, it is no more, never will be and never can be. The possibility has been tragically taken away.
I grew up listening to Split Enz and later, Crowded House, at first forced upon me by my sister, Gitte, and her best friend Emma, and later of my own free will. I even fell asleep every night for a good 15 years under the watchful eye of Neil Finn, Nick Seymour, Paul Hester and other Split Enz and Crowded House band members staring down at me from the hommage my sister had plastered across our bedroom walls.
Over the years particular CH songs had found their special niches in my heart, especially Distant Sun and Italian Plastic, the latter of which Hester had actually written himself. As I have said many times, including on this site, I can listen to Crowded House through anything, and often do. The older I have gotten, the more meaning I have been able to gain from the lyrics, and have found myself flying the CH flag more often than not, introducing fellow travellers from other parts of the world, and their ears, to the beautiful CH harmonies.
Being away from home, away from Australia, their music is something I use as a link back to my homeland, my family and friends, particularly when I am feeling lonely. This is especially so, being that their Best Of "Recurring Dream" release has for me a particularly strong association to northern Australia - whenever I hear it (which is a few times a week) I am flooded with fantastic memories of long drives between McKay and Townsville, taking in the spectacular outback and coastal scenery in this part of Oz with my mates, singing at the tops of our voices and having the feeling that it doesn't get any better than this - and loving every second of it.
Last Sunday, I was cooking to the strains of Crowded House when someone asked me about the band. I went into my usual spiel, saying that they are the greatest band in Australian music history and that Neil Finn is by far one of the most superior song writers of the last and current century. I talked about my favourite CH and Split Enz songs, and put them on for everyone to appreciate. I talked about their final concert on the steps of Sydney Harbor, and how I would move heaven and earth to get to a reunion concert if there were to ever be one.
Sadly, little did I know as I was explaining this, a sad and wretched fate had already decided during the previous 24 hours that this hope would never be realised.
The same way that such dreams disappeared in an instant for Beatles fans like my dad the world over 25 years ago when John Lennon was killed, the moment Paul Hester died, so did that dream of mine, as it did for thousands of other Crowded House fans just like me.
RIP Paul Hester - you will live on in the hearts of those who knew you, and in the legacy you left for the rest of us, your music.