I cried 2 weeks ago when my mother phoned to tell me a good family friend was dying.
He was in hospital and had just been diagnosed with lung cancer. He was being treated for a bronchial infection with no improvement. Tests finally revealed an aggressive lung cancer that had spread and was untreatable. It was only a matter of time.
I hadn't seen Greg for probably close to 20 years, but I cried, when 5 days later, my mother called to tell me he had died that morning. He was 65 years old and had left behind two loving sons, their wives and one grandson ... and many many friends.
I cried because, despite the fact I hadn't seen him for so long, he featured strongly in many of my childhood memories.
I cried because my parents lost a long time friend who they loved.
I cried because his sons will be devastated by his absence and he will not get to see his grandson grow into a man.
I cried because whilst he has lived a full and active life, 65 is just too damned young to die.
I cried because it seemed so quick, so brutal.
I cried because I was relieved he didn't suffer a long drawn out illness.
I cried because he is younger than my parents and that frightened me.
I cried because the world was a brighter place with him in it and now he was gone.
Yesterday we went to his funeral, to say our final good-bye's.
I listened to the eulogies given by his oldest son, friends and colleagues and I laughed at their stories... and I cried just a little too.
This was read at his funeral...
That man is a success,
who has lived well,
laughed often and loved much,
who has gained the respect of intelligent men,
and the love of children,
who has filled his niche and accomplished his task,
who leaves the world a better place than he found it,
who never lacked appreciation of earths beauty
or failed to express it,
who looked for the best in others
and gave the best he had.