Thursday, 2 August 2012

Family and friends

Family and friends.

Now, dear reader, there is an analogy. Not all of your/my family and friends will be viewed in a pleasant or gracious light. Personally, I have family that I have not spoken to, nor seen for years, despite some of them being very closely related. Indeed, when I have had the fortune/misfortune to have met them, usually at funerals or sometimes by surprise, mostly, it was polite conversation in most cases and was ended as a relief of at least one of the parties involved. When we met, it was like meeting someone at a social event, consisting of the dreaded chit-chat, "How are things going with you" conversation (which I loathe).

Some family though, are great. I have some cousins as have most of us. One of them, I will not reveal his name, I had not seen for some while and then met quite by accident some years ago now. It was simply amazing, despite there being  about ten years difference in our ages (I am the old git) we got on straight away, it was as if we had been meeting regularly for all of our lives. We started working together on some projects, each of us having our own successful businesses, having a beer after work and chatting about bloke things as you might imagine. Great times. They were not to last.

I noticed one day that my cousin had difficulty in eating properly. I asked him what was wrong and he said that it seemed he had indigestion for some time. I enquired how long this had been going on and he said that it had been nearly a year, but it was getting worse lately. Hearing that, I knew that it was something far more serious and urged him to go to hospital to get things investigated. He did and the news was bad. It turned out that he had esophageal cancer. For those of you that don't know, it is in the throat. At first, treatment seemed to be working, despite the advanced state. We used to meet up and play pool together regularly and one day he turned to me and said these words. " You know mate, I really like being with you, you treat me as if everything is normal and you never talk about bloody cancer like everyone else!". I will never forget them. As I said, treatment seemed to be going well.

One day, we were playing only our second game of pool when he turned to me and asked if I would take him home as he had a really bad neck and headache. In that tiny moment, I knew that we didn't have much more time together. The cancer had spread to his lymph glands. I spent as much time as I could with him from that day. I have a letter that he wrote to me just before he died, one of my most treasured possessions. He was 40 years old. I visit his grave and talk to him from time to time always saying a prayer and trusting that his soul soars in heaven. A real man and one I miss more than I can say, God bless, dear friend and relative.

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