Monthly Archives: August 2019

Passing Time

It’s been a difficult week. Three people whom I knew, some well, have passed away.

One of our Probus members, our centenarian, Sefton, has met his maker. He had repeatedly said “that he has had enough and he would be happy to meet his maker”, so it would be churlish not to feel pleased for him, while being sad for his family. Sefton was such a nice man, increasingly deaf and near blind towards the end, but always courteous, and as he was a former fly fisher, fascinating to listen to.

On the same day, one of my close friends, Duncan, died suddenly in Western Australia. We had been on holiday in Italy with him and his wife just in June this year, so the unexpected nature of his departure added to the intense sorrow. The great distance to travel, at short notice, meant that a video tribute, uploaded to the Web for use during the wake following the funeral, had to suffice. Difficult.

Finally, the fly fishing club that I’m secretary of lost a member of 48 years standing, Tony, at the age of 90. Not known to me, but still a sad loss, even at what I still regard as being an advanced age.

I’m hoping that this ‘run’ of deaths has stopped for a while. There was quite a series of funerals of Probus members and partners last year – here’s looking forward to a happier time.

It’s strange how during the course of a life one goes from making personal relationships, through going to weddings of others, then celebratory events (anniversaries etc.), to be followed by the inevitable funerals.  Funerals do have their interest, as well as their sadness, as often the lives of the departed, narrated in the eulogies in the services, bring out totally unknown and unexpected sides of a personality you thought you knew well.

It’s finding suitable words to express your feelings at these times that I find tricky. Words like ‘passing’, and ‘loss’ are never used in ‘normal’ speaking, only at these sad events – and they seem so hollow and meaningless.

Tribal Gathering

Just been to a family celebratory BBQ near Leeds. One of my wife’s cousins has been married for 60 years. Seems a bit excessive, even compared with our 52 years of marriage!

We hadn’t seen them for about 30 years, even though they live so close to us. In fact the last time we saw them, we were at the golden wedding of the cousin’s mother, now sadly passed.

Well, in that time their tribe had expanded somewhat. The cousin’s six children, now ranging from their 60s to their 70s have had lots of children themselves! Their fascinating family tree, including my wife, was on show, and now extended to 4 large pages, – more of a small wood than a tree!

The event provided me with a number of issues.

When you meet someone in a gathering like this, who are they? ( they’ve changed a lot over time, and so have you), and what, if any, is their relationship to my wife?

What are the names of their children, and which ones, of all those milling about, are theirs?

Yes I know one could always ask, but I find it difficult to hold all the new information in my head at one time.

Luckily there was a photo ceremony, unfortunately towards the end of the BBQ, in which the six children were arranged for the photo in order of age. So that gave some clues – but not enough, and a bit too late!

However, genetic similarities did help, with lots of the kids looking uncannily like their parents did so many years ago! So it was possible to group them into families, fairly accurately…. I think!

A charming event, with lovely food – but lots of opportunities for social faux pas!

Am I alone in having these difficulties?