Mrs maytrees and I usually spend time each new year's day from about 11am in the morning enjoying coffee and champagne with two long standing friends. This year the tradition seemed likely to be broken as another friend of theirs, even longer standing than us, was at the point of death through cancer.
No news to the contrary having been received we decided yesterday to take the 20 minute walk to their home. The walk took us past a house which had been an earlier home of the old Beaumont/HCPT friend whose premature death 3 years ago is the subject of some previous blog posts. I recalled him then as I often do with a mixture of sadness at his no longer being with us and happiness at the many fond memories evoked this time by seeing his old house.
On arrival at our New Years Day friends' home we learned that their friend had succumbed to cancer at age of 55 and died two days back. They recollected the countless good times they had had with him and family in days gone by and the sadness and grief affecting his widow and two girls.
They themselves were grief stricken and although we had only met their friends once or twice, shared the sadness with them. Yet out of that melancholy also came happiness. Fond recollections and memories were followed by anecdotes and inevitably the laughter that friends bring with them made itself felt. By the time the champagne was opened, the conversation was reflecting the passing of their old friend by being rather deeper and warmer than mere conviviality during a holiday.
Death is something we all have to go through alone but ironically perhaps death can bring the living closer together.