Then on Tuesday I came out of the Call Centre, Nic was standing by our car and straight away she told me that my brother-in-law Dave had died suddenly from a heart attack.
It felt like the ground was falling away from beneath me. It felt like something that could not be.
I’ve known Dave for over 40 years. He had only just retired from his job at Lancaster University last August, and was enjoying the first months of freedom after a lifetime of working. Recently, he’d been helping his son who is starting to renovate his small house.
Dave. He’s been a presence, in our family, for what seems like all of my life. He was funny, he could be gentle, great in conversation, he was well read, perceptive, fascinated by technology.
Way back when, in the 1980’s, he’d set up home with my sister in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. On the top of a steep hill, with incredible views over the Calder Valley. I used to visit often, Hebden was at that time a hippy community, full of people who lived and looked at life very differently.
He is gone too soon.
I can’t begin to express the empty feeling of loss and sorrow I have inside. Only, I’m also very mindful of the fact that those of us who remain have the precious privilege of life – so we must enjoy it, cut out the bad things in our lives, and live well.
This isn’t just some vague aspiration. It’s essential, necessary, a priority.
I’m resolving now to take time out every day to remind myself that:
1. I’m alive in a beautiful amazing world full of stunning scenery & loving people.
2. I have a nice house and many possessions for which I am truly grateful.
3. I’m married to a wonderful person who fills my life with happiness everyday.
4. I’m Dad to two remarkable and talented children and have the privilege of helping them to progress.
5. I have a unique role as a sepsis survivor to spread awareness and to encourage others to feel confident they can recover from setbacks.
6. I enjoy writing and this gives me the opportunity to speak about my unique experience to help others.
It’s vital that I understand and appreciate these fantastic things. They are the foundations of my resilience, literally sustaining me through everything that comes my way.
This is what it comes down to. Life. Not an accumulation of possessions, wealth, or stuff. Not the news on the TV, or social media, books or films. Just a small, cohesive little group of things based on who and what I love most of all.
It’s simple. It’s the sun, the sky, the air, the smile, the pleasure in the moment. Don’t you agree?
Bye Dave. We absolutely loved being with you.
For further help & advice on bereavement, Resilience+Co recommends www.thegoodgrieftrust.org