I remember the night he was born – my new baby brother. I was nearly five years old at the time and the commotion in the house woke me up. “Go back to bed”, I was told, but I lay there awake until my dad came back in the morning to tell me I had another brother. “Oh no, another boy!” I thought, but he was very different to the first one, and I grew to enjoy his quiet, sensitive ways.
He had a little suitcase full of plastic toys – mostly tiny little cowboys and Indians, but some bigger horses too – and I loved the times we lay on the carpet together, galloping the horses around, clipping their bandy-legged riders on every time they fell off. He loved playing ‘Clock Patience’ too, though I admit I tired of dealing the cards out for him well before he’d had enough of the game.
He was never a boisterous, noisy child – rather a quiet, deep thinker, who proved to be very able academically when he started school, especially in mental arithmetic. And he devoured books! We were very similar in that way, never happier than sitting quietly in each other’s company, both totally absorbed in the magical worlds we were reading about.
Perry’s mathematical and logical abilities were spotted early by IBM and he was taken on straight from school as a young trainee. He excelled at his work, and eventually left New Zealand to spend some time in the UK. But over the years he lost his interest in IT and began to think more about the world and how he could contribute to make people’s lives better. He rejected any kind of work that would just make money for individuals or companies and was not aimed at benefitting society in general.
Perry developed an interest in many areas and started to write. He published articles on the Helium writers’ website, and made thoughtful contributions to a variety of forums. He made a submission to the New Zealand parliament on the transparency of lobbying groups and was very keen to ensure that animals receive adequate protection and care, both in captivity and in the wild. He supported Kiva and made contributions to Greenpeace, Avaaz, and various charities whenever he was financially able.
But he struggled with what he saw as an increasingly money-orientated, heartless world and, around this time last year, after many years of trying to live according to his ideals, he took his own life. Only a week ago we came to know the truth of what had happened to him, though it has seemed the most likely outcome for some time.
Perry was not afraid of death. When he had low times in the past we had long discussions on life and what might come after. He felt there were two options – nothing, in which case he would be oblivious; or some other kind of world, a different dimension perhaps. He saw death in much the same way as birth – a doorway into another existence, one that he felt had to be better than what he saw around him. I hope he has not been disappointed.
I am extremely appreciative of the support I have received while trying to find him. Numerous people unknown to me have shared his photo and details, and only because of that I’ve been contacted by the person who played a large part in finding him and I’ve heard of the circumstances of the discovery. His remains have received a Maori blessing and were treated with respect and consideration.
Haere ra, little bro.