The kindness of others really sustains you during the months following. Particularly those who – like at the funeral – were old friends, work colleagues, casual acquaintances you’d meant to see for years but somehow not got around to seeing. The fact they had made an effort to support me and say goodbye to Gail in their own way was and still is, truly overwhelming.
In September 2017, I’d posted a photo from Kos in the Greek Islands where Gail and I were having a wonderful holiday. Underneath the post was a comment from a long-time friend and work colleague Vic and his wife Loretta. By coincidence they were in Kos too and suggested we meet up. This wouldn’t be quite so surprising if it wasn’t for the fact that Gail and I hadn’t seen Vic and Loretta in over 30 years! We’d often talked about meeting, never managed it and, when we eventually did, it turned out to be a couple of thousand miles away from where we both lived. Strange how things pans out.
We’d last met at a company Christmas Party I’d organised in 1987. Gail arrived as my guest for what was to become our first Christmas ‘together’ and the first person she met was Vic and his then girlfriend Loretta who were also breaking the ice. Now it was three decades later and, inevitably, as happens with these things, when we did meet it was like we’d seen each other the previous week. We had a really nice meal and spent several happy hours catching up under a hot Greek sun.
Now, a year later and it was hard to think where we’d been just twelve months earlier. With Facebook posting up its one-year reminders, I relived again the happy day a year earlier and got another message back from Vic. They were returning to Kos again and they wanted me to know they were going to to the same restaurant and bar where we’d been a year earlier to celebrate Gail’s life and raise a glass to her. It was both desperately sad to think of them in that same place where we’d been so happy just twelve short months before, but I was also overwhelmingly grateful that they would do such a thing to remember her.
It was odd to think of our two respective journeys since 1987 and – and this happens a lot when you lose someone – you bemoan the wasted years when you wanted to do things but somehow never got around to it because, as John Lennon had it, ‘life got in the way’.