A dear and precious friend of mine has lost his dad very recently.
In a year, and in a world, of so many sad things, one more sad thing might seem to have less consequence. It has however, touched me deeply. It has also made me stop and think about the feeling of loss and what replaces it.
My friend’s dad was called Lew and I met him only three times. Each meeting, however, was at a cricket match and for those of you who may not understand the significance of this detail, such days are never short and can never be forgettable. A day at a cricket match will always unfold in all its simple, gentle, burbling pleasure, with smiling souls bound together in hours of friendly conversation, in wonderment at our blessings to be there and in beer, as well as occasionally reclined in slumberous repose. It is a bonding experience of the very finest kind.
Having met Lew only three times, you might think it would be a little strange for me say I loved him, but in a way I did. He represented Dadness for me in a way I have not felt since losing my own father four years ago. He was thoughtful, kind, and had a twinkle in his eye that spoke for a love of life. However, the twinkle was held in a clasp made of a working man’s wisdom. He was strong and resolute, and with a moral compass that would never let him down. Perhaps above all I loved the obvious pride he had in his children and grandchildren. I felt Lew would never be the centre of attention, but somehow he would always be the centre of affection.
It is a special thing to give the world your presence in such a way that those who meet you feel safe and good about themselves. It is an even more special thing to give those people memories and feelings that will, in part at least, fill the space you leave behind.
My grief for Lew is of course a drop of rain in the storm of loss that my dear friend and others will feel about him for the rest of their lives. Even so, there is a gap that Lew has left for me too, and yet it is now a space I can fill with his memory and the memory of the times we shared. I will never again walk into Edgbaston on the morning of a Test match, and not think of him. The first beer of each day in that wonderful ground will always be “to Lew”.
I hope this does not sound flippant or trite, but perhaps the loss we feel when someone precious leaves us is not a gaping hole into which we must endlessly pour regret and feelings of loss. Perhaps instead it is their final gift to us, the space in which we can lovingly place each fond memory, every small kindness and their timeless wisdom; a space to reflect on all that they gave us during the times we shared. We may be destined to miss them every day, but we are left with treasures made of love.
R.I.P Lew and thank you.
Take care xx