Monday, 13 February 2012

Those who are left behind

The five regrets post that I put up came about as I was thinking about something ...  I don't know why but a melancholy moment the other day led me to wonder about that people in my life who are no longer in my life.

The greatest tribute to someone is that they are remembered with fondness and regret that they are still not about by those that knew them when they were.

Clearly on my list are members of my family, both my parents, my lovely old Aunt who was a woman who never spoke ill of anyone and would give you her last penny - she nearly did frankly, when she died and I had to tie up her estate it was so little I didn't need to go to probate in the courts and still she'd bought my son (who was only about 4 then) the huge Lego Pirate Ship he'd wanted for Christmas even though I'd told her to get him a smaller one as I knew it was expensive.  My Nan and my Grandma - although I can't deny a tough relationship with my Grandma, she was a demanding woman and quiet cantankerous but my brother had a very serious illness when I was very very small and frankly should have died, she had been a "fever nurse" between the wars and moved in and nursed him 24 hours a day and he made a full recovery - remarkable.

Then there are others - those snatched away too early.  My brother-in-law who died very suddenly aged 21 and ripped the heart out of a family.  My wife still struggles with missing him as you'd imagine a younger sister to do so.  I miss him too and wonder what life would be like if he'd been around now. 

Two others stand out.  Adam was an old colleague, drinking buddy and pal nearly 30 years ago.  We were both in our early 20s, me just married, him with a lovely girlfriend and we used to go out all together in London where we all worked.  I left the company we both worked but we regularly met up for drinks etc.  He then went off to Australia and we lost touch.  I decided to make an effort to track him down about a year back and found another mutual old friend on a networking site - he lived in the USA where I believed Adam also did.  I got in touch, the other friend is great living the Californian dream with a wife and four kids now.  Sadly though he told me Adam had had a heart defect unknown to anyone and had passed away a few years ago in his early 40s.  I always remember his chuckle and his smile.  I really regret losing touch and also I owed him an apology for something (an amends in AA programme speak) and I never got the chance to shake his hand earnestly and honestly say I was sorry for my behaviour in the past and hopefully see that smile and hear that chuckle again.

Guy was a friend and colleague at another place of employment.  He was more ambitious than I and moved on quickly.  Over the next few years we kept in reasonable contact even to the point that when my daughter was a toddler we spent a weekend with him in the lovely village he lived in at that time in Dorset.  However he broke up with his wife, moved on and we lost touch.   He paid me the greatest compliment I have every been paid once when he said that he was a better person through simply having known me.  I remember being so humbled by that statement when he said it.  He died suddenly and tragically in a car crash some 10 years or so ago now.

They are all gone but those that are left behind hold the memories and the influence of them in their hearts.


  1. I think the only thing left to reflect on when something so heart-wrenching like this happens is the fact that they haven't really gone anywhere. Whilst they are in our minds, our thoughts, our words, our mannerisms, our beliefs, then they are never far away. And perhaps when they physically part they become mentally far more present - perhaps more than they would have been.

    And, to quote yourself, there is something wonderful in bothering to turn up. And the people that bothered to turn up will always be the ones by our side, in body or mind, throughout our own lives.

    x P :-)

  2. Have you noticed it's always the best people who get taken early. I always think their work on earth is done so they're getting the rest they deserve. Only way I know of thinking about it without getting really upset.

  3. Sounds like you've known some very special people - which means you must be special, too.

  4. Last night I read your alcohol story again
    stark, honest moving and from the heart...... it impressed me greatly
    thank you

  5. I'm lucky not to have lost so many. Thanks for sharing

  6. The trick is to not wait 'til they've gone before you start eulogising about them. Tell them how much you love them while they're still above ground.

  7. John - now that is simple straight advice I ought to act on