A sad end to a Sunday

Today started off well. We had company; my step-daughter and our new grandson had come over on Saturday, and they stopped the night. The sun was shining, and I made bacon sandwiches for everyone. The house was full of baby talk, and even Ollie was attentive to the new addition to our family. I worked on my latest post about architecture, until it was time to take Ollie for a walk this afternoon. It was nice over the Meadows, bright and sunny, not too cold. Ollie was able to play with Hector, the Bull Terrier, and Spock, the young Alsatian.

When I got home, I made a start on dinner. It was to be a traditional roast; a nice joint of pork, with all the usual vegetables. In with the meat, and the peeling and chopping commenced. I fed Ollie in the meantime, giving him a little extra, as he has been so good this weekend. Then I got an unexpected phone call, from one of my cousins. He has just retired from the Royal Air Force, and rang to catch up. As we don’t often get a chance to chat, we had a long natter, and I really enjoyed hearing from him.

I arranged the meal to be ready at 6.30, as Julie had to take her daughter and the baby home to Norwich later. The meal went well. The pork was very tasty, and the crackling on top had turned out perfectly, for a change. We all enjoyed it, and I cleared away, as they got ready to leave later, and there was a lot of stuff to pack away. Just after 8pm, we decided to load up the car, in preparation for their departure.

Then the phone rang again.

Julie answered. It was Jim, the son of one of my oldest friends. He never usually called, though we sometimes exchanged e-mails, or blog comments. She handed me the handset with a knowing look. As soon as I heard the voice at the other end, I knew the news was bad. Unable to contain his emotion and distress, Jim quickly told me that his Dad had been found dead today, in his south London flat. It is suspected that he died suddenly, of a massive stroke. Hearing him so upset made me feel even worse on hearing the news. I began to cry too, which upset my step-daughter, and Julie of course. We hurried off the phone, both too distressed to continue, saying that we would speak soon, about the funeral plans. I was very touched that he had contacted me first, knowing what great friends his Dad and I had been.

Since then, I haven’t really known what to do, except to write. I have sent an e mail to Jim, and to his sister Helen, telling them how I feel. I also e-mailed some others who knew him, and sent texts to other old friends. Now I am writing this, perhaps to help me deal with it, possibly because I just don’t know what else to do.

Pete Medway was one of the oldest and most cherished friends I have had throughout my life. When I was eleven years old, he was a teacher at my school, only ten years older than I was. And over the next few years, I got to know him well. Even though he was not my English teacher at that school, he always inspired and encouraged me. He accompanied some of us on school trips, and I got to know him better, outside of the school environment. He treated me like an adult when I was still a teenager, and expected the best of me, by giving me the best of himself. When I was fifteen, he even rented a room at my parents’ house for a while, and he would talk about things, discuss literature and relationships, life and experiences.

As the years passed, he was always there. Even when he lived in Canada for some time, we would write to each other frequently, imparting news, telling of jobs, things of significance, and insignificance too. When he returned to the UK, we would meet occasionally, keep in touch by letter or phone, and later by e-mail. When I got married, he came as a guest. When my Mum died, he attended the funeral, despite some medical problems at the time. He was a constant presence, always there somewhere, never more than a phone call away. He had some academic fame, published books, and lectured at prestigious colleges in London University. He was a thinker, and thoughtful too. A caring man who loved his son and daughter, and the grandchildren that came along later. And he always had time for his friends, especially me.

I feel lost. I feel for his family, and I cannot really believe that I will never see him again.

I can’t think of many worse ways for a Sunday to end.

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45 thoughts on “A sad end to a Sunday

  1. I’m so sorry Pete. It sounds like Pete Medway was a good man and a good friend and both are to be cherished. You wrote so simply and touchingly about him. I am sorry for your, the family’s and everybody else’s loss.

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    1. Thanks, Lloyd. When you have been close to someone for so long, and gone through so much together, you really appreciate what true friendship means. Even though we are all getting older, and the end is inevitable, it doesn’t make that any easier.
      I also wrote this, about his funeral.
      https://beetleypete.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/a-sad-trip-to-surrey/
      I wrote this other post some time after. And I still haven’t read them.
      https://beetleypete.wordpress.com/2015/05/24/letters-from-beyond/
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t have much to add to the chorus but I want you to know that I read this, and not only feel your pain, but understand it. I too suffered a great loss last year and haven’t entirely processed it. But I do know that the memories stay with you, evolve with you, and become part of you. I am thinking of you and your dear friend. ((((hugs))))

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  3. Dear Pete, I read on Arne`s blog about your sad news. It is very hard to find the right words in those moments. And in a foreign language it is even more difficult.
    I`m so sorry and I know this feeling so well! Your post was so wonderful and a great tribute to your friend. I think it is very good to write about your feelings. I wish you all the best. Irene

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    1. That is very kind of you Irene. Do not concern yourself about the language differences, you express yourself perfectly, and your thoughtfulness is very touching.
      Thanks very much indeed for taking the time to comment about this. It is much appreciated. Pete.

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  4. Oh Pete im so sorry. I unfortunately know too well how you’re feeling and my thoughts are with you. One thing i’ve learned over the past few months is that people deal with loss in very different ways and at different speeds – life will never quite be the same again but the pain will get “easier” as the time goes by. Keep writing Pete, its a good outlet to have and you have such a great support system right here xx

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  5. The trauma of sudden loss like the one you have suffered is (I think, I hope) mitigated by knowing the person who died suffered less than if they had been in a terrible, long-drawn out state of knowing. You have a gift for friendship, online and in real life, as testified by your moving tribute to Pete Medway and your sympathy for his family. All good wishes to you and Julie.

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  6. This is really sad, Pete, I’m so sorry for the loss of your good friend.
    It’s hard, it’s painful and yet, due to my profession, I must say, this is one of the best way to leave. No illnesses and no long suffering.
    This is not the right time so say, I know, please forgive me. You wrote a wonderful tribute to him and I enjoyed your writing from the beginning to the end, new life entering the world and old ones leaving and the daily chores that make living worthwhile. Caring for another. ❤
    It's hard to reach this age where you get more invitations for funerals than birthday parties (like my neighbour sadly said last week). Let's be grateful for one another and the time we have and had together and all the beloved ones we so sadly miss. You will need time get over this great loss, dear Pete.
    All the best, Dina x

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    1. Thanks for your kind and thoughtful comments Dina. I agree that it is good not to add suffering and discomfort. In many ways, it is a good way to go, but perhaps not alone, I was (and still am) just so shocked, as it was completely unexpected. As we get older, we do of course expect many friends and relatives to depart. I just didn’t think it would be this one. At least not so soon.
      Love and best wishes, Pete and Ollie. x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Of course, dear Pete, to go alone is more than terrible, it w as stupid of me to say so. So sorry. It’s hard to loose a good friend and it’s hard to find the right the words. So clumsy, says Siri & Selma.
        Love and best wishes from the Four of us
        xxxx

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  7. Pete, you paint a wonderful picture of your friend. The unfortunate and very high price of having special friends is that one day we may lose them. At least you enjoyed a wonderful meal with your new grandson. The cycle of life continues.

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    1. I feel a little uncomfortable, putting this on my blog. But I wanted to give him a personal tribute, and it did make me feel as if I was still connected, in a way.
      Thanks Arlene. Best wishes, Pete

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  8. I couldnt agree more, after a lovely weekend most definitely the worst end to a sunday. Pete had become a very special friend to me too over the last fourteen years that we have been together. Such a shock, he will be very sadly missed.
    My love and very best wishes are sent to both Jim, Helen and their families. You had a wonderful father/grandfather with many special memories.

    Much love to you all

    Julie, Petes wife xxxxx

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  9. Pete, that’s such sad news. I have heard you speak so often about Pete Medway and what a massive influence he has been in your life. Just hang on to the memories that is all you can do. It can only get easier. Love Brian

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  10. Oh Pete, that’s awful news. So hard when a death is unexpected, the shock is enormous. For you and all his friends and family. You have written a lovely tribute to him and your memories will always be with you. Take care xx

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m so sad to read this news, Pete. It is a sad fact that at this time of life, such things are to be expected but that doesn’t make them any easier to bear. My heart goes out to you and his family. Take care. Sarah xx

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    1. Thanks Sarah. It was such a shock, because he had not been unwell, and we had only been in touch very recently too. As you say, we reach a certain age, and these things do happen.
      Your kind words are much appreciated. Pete. x

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