A Different Week

This was supposed to be a good week. Julie is off, and her twin girls are celebrating their 25th birthday.

Last weekend, I heard that my old friend, Bill Evans, had been found dead. I haven’t seen him for over 25 years, but absence did not diminish the fondness that I felt for him. Incredibly intelligent, a talented musician, a man with a biting wit. Not much older than me, he was found dead in his home in Wales. He died alone, unable to impart his dying words to another person, his last thoughts and pronouncements unknown to history. Despite suffering many medical problems over the years, and finally being free of the pain that plagued him, I am haunted by the fact that he died alone. Nobody should experience death alone. Human contact is all important, at the second most important time in a life. I will miss him, and I applaud his constructive life.

We still had bad weather on Monday, so did little.  On Tuesday, we entertained one of the twins to dinner, and she enjoyed her presents, and birthday cake. Today, Julie went to lunch with the other twin, and gave her her own presents and cake. The birthdays were justly celebrated, and were enjoyed, as such things should be

For me, the week was overshadowed by the death of my friend. As we all get older, we expect to lose parents, older relatives, and some of those around us. But little prepares you for the death of friends of the same, or similar age. The memories come flooding back, seeming like yesterday, though you know that they are a lifetime away. The sense of ones own mortality is heightened, and the mood becomes reflective, and a little pessimistic.

Tomorrow, we are planning a trip to the beach, at Overstrand. If the weather holds, we will go out again, then do some gardening. On Saturday, we will venture out for a restaurant meal, sealing the week off with an event to remember. For my old friend, now dead, none of this is possible. He can only live on in memory; his days out are no more, and his life is now consigned to history. At least he is well remembered, with love and humour. We should all hope for so much.

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21 thoughts on “A Different Week

  1. Hi Pete, yesterday was Bill’s funeral. Brian, Pete Keen and myself travelled to Wales for the ceremony which was celebratory. It was a beautifully sunny day and the country around the crematorium was rolling hills, lush and green utterly suitable for Bill whip had a vivid love of nature. Martin Henning came up from Devon.
    Bill’s brother John delivered a most poignant and accurate eulogy which moved us all to tears as you can imagine. We enjoyed victuals, beer and tea in the neighbouring golf club and drove home with feelings of refreshed friendships and positive thoughts of our departed pal.
    Some of Bill’s care workers attended and they expressed their great affection for him so although he died alone I get the feeling that he was not lonely.
    He dismissed himself from hospital shortly before his death not wishing to convalesce there preferring to be home so, I suppose he had had enough of the pain which has haunted his life.
    Onwards and upwards . . R x

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  2. Oh Pete I’m sorry for your loss. It’s weird, since December my mum has called twice me to pass on the news to my dad (who is in Florida) that a friend of theirs has passed. It shocks me as much as it shocks him when I pass it on because it reminds me that these people are the same age and you never know when your time is up :/
    As for dying alone… It’s sad but it happens and I think the important thing is that – though physically alone- he had lived a full life and touched the hearts of people like you… And I’m sure you left your mark on him too Pete xx

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  3. Pete,

    There was a time in life when I never thought about the end of it. Oh, there were jarring bolts of reality like a friend dying of cancer at 25, but that was unusual for me…and it was cancer – at least that’s what i told myself. But, as I have aged, death has touched me more often. Twenty years after my Father’s death, I continued to feel sorrow of time not spent with him…and that he died suddenly and alone.

    If only I had seen him the day before, instead of postponing a planned visit by one day. It’s a lesson I need to be reminded of from time ot time, as you have just done. Cherish your friends and family – you never know when that last day will be. Make time for them – for it is those moments that build a life.

    And, please excuse me if I have become a bit preachy. Your post touched a chord within.

    My best from way-too-warm So Calif.

    Phil

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    1. Thanks Phil. Many events over the past ten years have taught me to cherish family and friends, and to try to go the extra mile, in the hope that I will not be left with regrets. Good advice indeed.
      Regards from England, (the sun is out!) Pete.

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  4. I was thinking about death today, reading “Banco” (Henri Charrière’s sequel to “Papillon”). In the book, the author frequently discusses the struggles of life, the joys of living, faith in God, the ups and downs of destiny, and the horrors of death. There was one such memorable passage in my reading today. Charrière died in 1973 at age 66. Autobiographical fiction aside, I was quite moved by your post concerning Bill Evans. It serves as a reminder that all is ephemeral in this world, and that no one is spared, not even our closest friends and relatives..

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    1. Thanks David. I am sure that I did read ‘Banco’, but it was so long ago, I cannot recall a thing about it.
      Every so often, we get a reminder of just how quickly our time passes.
      Best wishes as always, Pete.

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  5. These things jolt us out of complacency and make us realise that time is passing. Perhaps he preferred to be alone.

    “Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.”
    ~Martin Luther

    I hope the rest of your week is good.
    Jude xx

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    1. He may well have preferred his own company much of the time Jude.
      I am undoubtedly just transferring my own fears of a lonely death, after hearing the news.
      Luther had some good quotes!
      Regards as always, Pete. x

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        1. We had a couple of nice days thanks. Just back from the University, which has lakes and country walks in the grounds. Yesterday we had our day out to Overstrand, walking along the massive beach. I wasn’t too sad really, just a little reflective.
          Today has been warmer, but cloudier. The weekend has good weather forecast, so time to tidy up the garden, and get the grass cut. It’s a foot high!
          Regards as always, Pete. x

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          1. Take it easy with the gardening – warm those muscles up with a walk with Ollie first 🙂

            It’s been cloudy here today and looks like a thunderstorm is due, quite humid.

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  6. I’m sorry for your pain at the loss of your friend. My deepest condolences. I think it’s wonderful that you plan to celebrate his life this weekend. That’s the kind of legacy I’d like to leave, that someone cared enough to celebrate that I’d lived and they’d known me at some point along the way.

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  7. I’m very sad to hear this, Pete. The death of a friend really does give one pause. I’ve already said goodbye to far too many friends who have died before their time in the last twenty years. Cherish the memories and I hope the beach and weekend enable you both to celebrate his life and yours. Sarah x

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    1. Thanks Sarah. I have lost some relatives, including my Mum, over the past few years. Somehow, the loss of friends is harder to come to terms with. I suppose that it is all part of getting older, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
      Kind regards, Pete.

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