Life moves on.
And today I will be deleting a phone number from my mobile phone.
Modern technology is strange. We are connected electronically and yet, we rarely meet up in reality. Maybe it is just life that gets to you.
But yeah, update mobile phone, social media outlets (ha!) and your own mind.
Now time to delete the name off the phone now.
I don’t know what was more tragic. Hearing his dad say that there was a name of each of his children and grandchildren engraved on his heart. Seeing the sombre colleagues and friends, of which I was a part of. But no, really, it was seeing his widow. I could barely look up at her as she spoke of her husband. How they met, how he romanced her, how they got married a mere six months later. It would have been ten years of marriage this year, a relationship, that she admitted, had its ups and downs. Really, I could not look at her, it was haunting just to hear her speak of him like that.
While his family looked back at the boy they raised lovingly, and his friends laughed about the good times they shared, it was her words, her voice, her emotions that got to me. Here was a woman that saw my friend for the person he truly was. She did not care about his past, she embraced him faults and all. Wow, the power of love.
I cannot forget her tears, her sobbing and her words. The sheer dread of being a widow, so young. Ripped apart. She did not bank on something like this, so soon, ten years ago, when they first met…
So yeah, I still have to erase that phone number.
When I first hear the news, three weeks ago, I was shocked. I mean, come on, he was only in his forties. How the hell can he have a heart attack? I mean, yeah, he was a big guy, but a heart attack at forty? How. I had phoned him in January, just to see how he was. Buy was the reply, and we chatted for a few minutes. And a week before he died I saw him as we passed each other on our travels in London. So it, yeah, was a shock. I did not know what to make of it. At first, I said, please tell me that you’re joking. Unfortunately, my colleague was not. It was true, and news began to filter through that he had died in the night on March 6th, peacefully, in his sleep, of a heart attack. A good man, warm and generous to everyone. Sure, he made his mistakes, we all do. But his good points definitely outweighed the bad points.
This was one of those time when the phrase, why do the good ones die young, really applied.
It was a long motorbike up to North London, the area where he was born. And I met up with a lot of old colleagues who had also made the journey. A lot where still working with him, while I had left for another part of London. We are al that little bit older, that little bit balder and rounded around the bellies. And ourselves, slipping closer to death. Maybe it will take us quickly, like it did for our friend. Maybe it will be slow and agonising. Who know? In the end, it is a destination none of us can avoid.
One day, if I am lucky, a few people may turn up and say some kind words about me, about the life I led. Some people may shed a tear for the words I spoke. And someone, just like me, will have difficulty in erasing a certain phone number from his diary. Not out of spite or hate, or even a lack of contact. Just out of disbelief. The fact that he is gone, that is it. No more calls, chats, friendly waves or catch ups. The good times and the bad, pales into insignificance.
I suppose I am lucky. Yes, I have been to my fair share of funerals, but I am of an age where these things are more uncommon than a dreaded and regular occurrence. It means nothing, the chances in life means that tomorrow anyone’s day could be finished all too soon. It is at these times
I am holding my phone in my hand. Number deleted. Rest in Peace Michael. Everyone is going to miss you.