Many, many years ago a friend of mine called Peter died, we were in the Rotary together at that time, we would meet up at the meetings, he used to give me tips and advice about business matters as he was more experienced than I. When he retired he had more time and we would meet up for coffee or lunch occasionally and we even started to make arrangements to start learning to play golf together as two novices.
Peter and his new wife and my wife and I were out together on a Friday evening with the rest of the Rotarians on a visit to a new factory, being shown the new process for printing on plastic, at that time, and we all enjoyed it, when we departed we were talking about seeing each other the following Monday at our normal meeting, but Saturday morning I got a call telling me Peter had died that morning of a massive heart attack.
That call hit me like a speeding truck, even now as I draft this in longhand the tears are rolling down my face, that weekend I went to pieces and the following week I found it extremely difficult to work, I never got over that feeling of loss and the fact that I considered him a close friend, I never told him that.
Now today, I have just lost another good friend Paul, he too died from a heart attack, Paul had been paralysed for the last seven years and has been in a wheelchair all that time, he was always cheery, always asking after others and how they were keeping, he never complained once, never bemoaned his fate, he humbled me with his strength of will and solid character.
I went to Paul’s funeral on Wednesday 28th November and I was asked to write a eulogy which I did with much pain and grief in my heart, but one difference about Pauls death was, I had taken the time to tell him how I admired his strength and tenacity and how I considered him my best friend.
Yes, I still have tears in my eyes, and I am writing this in private because as an old Englishman born and bred, I was brought up with the old British, stiff upper lip, so I don’t want anyone to see my strong emotions, I can’t walk around with my heart on my sleeve, but I do think it’s important to let those around you that you care and to know how much you value them.
When my time comes and my heart takes its last few beats, I don’t want to be half way through the sentence, ‘I want you to kno…’
If you read this and think what is this doing in a travel blog, then remember we travel life’s path and that means losing grandparents parents and possibly friends to illness or accident, these feeling may not be what you would chose but they do have to be visited in life.
A very sad Don