My efforts to be considerate came to nothing. Things can turn out like that. My neighbour’s not coming home to die.*
He died in his hospital bed. He died far sooner than his daughter had been led to believe, had hoped. Doctors can only know so much.
His son told me. A few words on the drive outside. A few hurried, nearly tangled, awkward words. … a good man/be missed/probably best it’s been quick. The normal words. That doesn’t stop them being true.
Just a few words; few enough so we could both turn away in time – in time for us to both shield our tears.
For all of the event’s enormity, there’s nothing to say that isn’t shroudingly obvious. There’s no picture to take that’s not equally unruffling.
Perhaps that’s a good thing. Perhaps a death that has nothing surprising in its train is an affirmation of a life well lived.
The why of it
The death of a decent man, a neighbour I’ve known for years and years – it’s properly inevitable that I’m thinking about it and about him.
Given that death will come to us all, the real issue should be exploring what to do in the light of that fact. One focus should be looking at why, day-to-day, we seem to struggle to appreciate life’s pleasures – and life’s fragility.
Appreciating that fragility, fully but positively – surely that should be a core goal.