Thursday, 14 February 2013
A Wonderful Memorial Service - the story behind the story
Well, the service was this morning - Valentine's Day, appropriate as it turned out, as one of the speakers - the deceased's life-long friend, who was unable to attend, said in his letter that M had found the answer to life and it was Love. Because of our friend's untimely and sudden death, many of those who paid tribute to him, broke down as they spoke, and several of these were his men friends. One of his closest buddies, from the cycling club, told us that if you were out on a ride and you had a puncture, M would be the one who stayed to help you and pushed you up the hills if you got tired. He was that kind of guy. Both his daughter and step-daughter (now pregnant with his next grandchild) cried during their tributes: he was that kind of guy. His son was unable to read his speech and stood behind his wife as she read it for him. He inspired that kind of love. Luckily, M has always lived in and around Cape Town. That's good for a funeral because there were several impromptu tributes from guys who had heard of his passing, but had lost touch over the years. Their memories added welcome touches of humor and we laughed out loud at the guy who started school with M when they were 5 years old: when they were 7, he had punched M on the nose in the boxing ring - and they had both cried. Then there was the guy who had been in the Boy Scouts with M - they had lost touch as grown-ups and hilariously bumped into each other after intervals of about 15 years each time and each time, they had to re-introduce themselves (not sure of each other's identity in the face of changing physical appearances, beards, hair etc.) The wife's tribute was read by the young minister and I wasn't the only one to make a mental note to ask her if I could borrow her words one day, should I happen to need them, so perfectly did she describe their love. So the event was uplifting more than it was sad. For today at least. A cautionary note. When M was admitted to hospital last Friday, the doctor's didn't know that he had suffered back pain so severe for the last two years, that he always slept on his side or front. He and his wife had just thought it must be muscular and he thought as long as he kept fit, there could be nothing seriously wrong with him. He was not one for check-ups. After his operation for stents on Saturday (all major arteries clogged), he had to lie on his back for 24 hours. At this point, the aneurism, that had been building up for 20 years (so the docs said afterwards), burst and that's what killed him.