I have no idea where to start or what to say, all I know is that I have to write something so here it goes…
Let me start by telling you a little bit about my dear sweet friend Lawrence. We met when I was working at 102.1 The Edge in Toronto. I was in marketing and promotions and Lawrence was a freelance production guy. We used to work closely together on all the big concerts and events that we put on at the radio station. From the Casby Awards to Edgefest to Wakestock and tons of big rock concerts. You’d always find the 2 of us sitting side by side in all the planning meetings, backstage running around with our radios at the shows (his ass was always exposed because the radios would always weigh down his pants) or screwing around in golf carts at festivals. We had a blast together and all our conversations were either about music or soccer. Lawrence used to love to tell me about all the big rockstars he worked with on their tours and I used to love to sit there and listen to all his wonderful Lawrence stories. They included bands and artists like Depeche Mode, Stone Temple Pilots, Lumineers, Foster the People, Nick Cave, Paul Weller, Robert Plant, Oasis, Them Crooked Vultures, Weezer, Linkin Park, Tragically Hip, Neil Young, Rise Against, Arkells, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Tom Petty, New Order, Sarah McLachlan, City and Colour, Billy Talent, Alexisonfire, A Perfect Circle, his FAVE, Metric 😉 haha and MANY MORE! And some of them I had the pleasure of working on with him. He knew everyone and everyone knew him. His phone (which was always the latest iPhone…he was a tech whore haha) was filled with contacts and it was constantly going off with people requesting help with tickets. It didn’t matter if U2 was in town or Celine Dion if anyone could get you tickets it was Lawrence! As I write this I literally got a message from a friend on facebook saying how he was a “super cool dude” and always gave people concert tickets to shows he produced because he was a kind guy. Everyone loved Lawrence, it was hard not to and although Lawrence didn’t work for the radio station it was like he did because he was always there and so he became a part of our radio family. He would walk into the station and walk right past reception and over to my desk because he could! Hahaha! Here you’d have his handsome Brit waltzing in with his laptop (always a Mac…everything was Apple with him), iPhone and wearing jeans and a tee, Doc Martens and more often than not a hat and was always ready to work. The best was when he would come in and was pissed about something…pissed Lawrence was one of my favourite kinds of Lawrence, if you ever had to deal with a ticked off Brit then you know what I mean.
As time passed I gave Lawrence a nickname and if you know me you know that I love to give out nicknames and they usually stick. For Lawrence, it was; “My British Boyfriend” and he loved it, hahaha! We were strictly friends and nothing more but it worked and we loved it. I would often come home and tell Nick (the husband) about my day with “My British Boyfriend” and he would laugh. I remember when the 2 of them met, it was like I wasn’t even there…they hit it off! I would always joke and would tell Lawrence that he loves Nick more than he loves me and he would laugh. Man did we do a lot of laughing! We got along great like 2 peas in a pod. One of the things he loved about me was my potty mouth and when we would meet people he would love to tell them and warn them about me, he would say “this is my good friend Pina, watch out she swears more than I do!” He actually just did this a few weeks back with his buddy Nick. Outside of work we would hang and go for drinks and concerts together and we’d have a blast. One night back in June 2009 a group of us met up at Brazen Head in Liberty Village to grab a bite and some drinks after work and then hit up the Molson Amphitheatre (now Budweiser Stage) for the Ninja Tour which was Nine Inch Nails and Janes Addiction. It was an awesome show and as if that wasn’t enough we thought, you know what would really be fun?, if we hit up Sound Academy (now Rebel) for the TV On The Radio concert! So we did it and hit up 3 concerts in 1 night! Man we have so many amazing memories together, stories, and inside jokes.
Lawrence was also one of the most loyal, caring and loving people I have ever met. He truly cared about his friends and if you were down he was right there next to you helping you back up. When I was pregnant with Samantha a little over 7 years ago he would always ask how I was and if I needed anything. I remember him coming over to my desk prior to me going on mat leave with a gift he bought for the baby. It was a stuffy and a Henckel baby flatware set with little bears on them (by the way Samantha loves that set and still uses it). I thought it was the cutest thing and I just pictured this cool edgy Brit dude going shopping for a baby gift and it made me laugh, but honestly, that was Lawrence. I also got a gift after Sam was born and of course, it was the Rockabye Baby Pearl Jam CD…I’m convinced though that if they had an Oasis one I would have gotten that instead (one of his fave bands).
Now let’s go back about 5 years, it was when everything changed. Lawrence suffered a series of strokes which changed him and understandably so. That was followed up with a broken hip which took him out and from there other stuff happened and being diabetic made things challenging and resulted in Lawrence losing his leg and shortly after he ended up on dialysis due to kidney failure. It’s so fucked up to think it all stemmed from one thing. One minute you’re ok and happy and the next your world gets thrown a curve ball and everything goes to shit. It changed his life, ended his career and brought on depression. Lawrence loved his work and now not being able to work just killed him not to mention as someone who’s self-employed it also meant a major financial burden. A lot more stuff happened during that time, not so good things and it just brought him down even more including begin forgotten by many of his friends. Fast forward to just before the new year when I got a call from Julie, Lawrence’s best friend, she told me that he was back in the hospital and that things weren’t looking so good. More shit to add to the pile came down and I just kept thinking…fuck for real? Has he not endured enough already? He just needs a fuckin break! I remember going to visit him and it broke my heart. The Lawrence I knew was not who I was looking at and it killed me. We spoke about the good old days and he told me how much he missed working. I told him to get better cuz we would figure something out and it would all be ok but little did I know that he wouldn’t be bouncing back. He asked me to promise that I would go visit again and so I told him that I totally would, he even asked that I go back with Nick and I laughed thinking…see you do love him more than me! Hahaha!! I went back with Nick and we had a great visit and we joked around, laughed and Nick made Lawrence promise that when he would get out he would have to take me to a concert (cuz Nick hates going with me haha) and Lawrence laughed and agreed. I paid Lawrence a few more visits and we talked, listened to music, and reminisced about the good old days.
We talked about the time that he worked VFest on the Toronto Island and Oasis played (remember the year that Noel got pushed) and I laughed cuz it was a nightmare for Lawrence and that’s what we do…laugh at each other. From there he asked me to play his favourite Oasis tune “Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” and I told him that he is a true rock star and he laughed and replied with a “yup” haha. At another visit, my second last visit with him he told me how tired he was and that he just wanted to check out. That day was the day that I went to visit him to say goodbye because I was heading out of town for a conference and I wasn’t sure if I would see him again so I went to spend some time with him. When he talked to me about checking out I remember holding back my tears and saying to him that whatever it is he wants to do I will stand behind him, support him and love him. It was then he also asked me if I believe in God. I told him that I do and I believe that after we die there is more. He sat and listened quietly. Do you know what that feels like to hear that from a dear friend? It’s horrible but I understood because he was suffering so much, more than anyone should and it was no way to live. I did make it back to visit Lawrence one last time after my conference and it was a short little visit. He was sleeping and he woke up for me, I asked him if he wanted me to leave but he said no. He asked me to turn up the radio for him (I think he was the only guy in the hospital with a Bose sound system in his room haha…so Lawrence) and just stay with him so I did. He just wanted me to stay with him while he rested, he even told me in a nice way to shut up haha. I stayed a while and then before I left I said goodbye while he slept, told him I loved him and gave him a kiss on the cheek. Lawrence always wanted a kiss on the cheek and if you forgot he would look at you and tap his finger on his cheek to remind you. As bad as I knew things were, I didn’t think that was going to be my last visit with him. Things spiraled out of control and more happened. He never did get to go home because this past Sunday morning I got the call from Julie that he passed away. I was planning to go visit him with chocolate milk (his fave), play some more tunes and just hang this week but Lawrence had other plans.
Lawrence’s Favourite Song – Oasis “Rock ‘N’ Roll Star
I am heartbroken knowing that he’s no longer here with us but I get it and he was suffering a lot. I just wish shit was different. I wish that first stroke never happened. I just miss him a lot and it’s not fair. He was one of the best and didn’t deserve all the bull shit he endured over these past 5 years. Some may say that he’s in a better place now but I don’t think so. I think the better place for him to be is here with his family, friends and his pups (Charlie, Mickey, and Cali), happy and healthy. We have so many concerts we still needed to go to together, more jokes to share and soccer arguments to have.
We all loved him so very much including Julie who my heart breaks for. We all lost our friend but she lost her BEST FRIEND! Julie was by his side non-stop over the past 5 years, day in and day out. When Lawrence was in the hospital she was there every single day and toward the end twice a day. She was his rock and without her, I think Lawrence would have left us a long time ago. Lawerence was so lucky to have her. We are all so lucky to have Julie in our lives and I am forever grateful for all that she did for him. Not too long ago, Julie got tested to find out if she was a match and could donate her kidney to Lawrence and she was but with everything going on it wasn’t possible to have the surgery. That’s just an example of how much Lawrence was loved and the kind of things people were willing to do for him.
Lawrence, I love you and I miss you dearly! I will never forget you and when you died, a piece of my heart died with you. Thank you for being such an amazing friend and I hope that wherever you are, you are rocking out and having a blast. Julie said that heaven needed a good production guy and I couldn’t agree more. At least David Bowie, Scott Weiland, Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell, Freddy Mercury, Chester Bennington (hey maybe he remembers you from the year he played Edgefest) and the many more, can now put on some great concerts with your help!
So goodnight and sweet dreams my love. Come visit me in my dreams as I’ll be waiting!
P.S. Keep watching the World Cup, I think this might just be the year that England brings it home for you 😉
Filmed back in 2010 – Lawrence’s 2010 World Cup Prediction
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