Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Monday, August 15, 2016

"Bugger!" is all I can say.

to brighten the mood - spring is coming. These were on our lawn. 

Since retiring and worshipping at the little Presbyterian Church here, we have got to know a lovely, quietly spoken, gentle man who lives alone. He has been a bachelor all his life working as a draftsman. He lives with diabetes and the early stages of Parkinson's disease. 
He and I have similar theological perspectives and have often chatted about our faith journeys. Also since I am essentially a shy guy who works hard to push my boundaries, I understand and appreciate this man's quiet lack of confidence and hesitancy, that is where I come from.  We both like being bits of loners, but we have enjoyed each other's company. He has taught himself how to play the pipe organ. He designed and built a beautiful boat and had promised to take me for a ride in it. In spite of his quiet uncertainty, he was in fact, a very clever man. 

Last week he had the misfortune to discover a friend of his dead in her house. She had Alzheimers and he had lovingly kept an eye on her since her husband's death earlier this year. He would ring her each morning, and this particular morning she had not responded. When he rang us to tell us about this experience last Wednesday we invited him to come for the evening meal. We listened to him tell us what happened and reflect upon it, but we also found ourselves chatting about life easily and warmly. I was pleased because he seemed to relax in our company.
He was not at Church yesterday and I was not too worried because I knew his deceased friend's relatives would be in town and he could be busy with them. I also knew that the preacher we had for the day was not our favourite and that he may have avoided coming for that reason. At church though, others told of instances when he had been found in the beginnings of a diabetic coma. We began to be concerned because he had said that he would see us at church. We made attempts to contact him at his house where his car was still in the driveway, and by repeated phone calls. We were not able, but were not that despairing, thinking others may have visited him and taken him somewhere. We were not certain of his plans so did not feel we could call the police to break into his house.

Today we heard that they had found him dead in his house, I assume from some sort of diabetic event. I have tried to do stuff, but have found that numbing distracting feeling of grief demotivating me. Every time I have thought of him and his friendship today I have just said, "Bugger!" I have lost yet another friend out of my life. "Bugger" is the only appropriate word. I am sad. Getting old is not easy, sadness seems to be a recurring experience. Since coming home from our trip to the UK I have now lost three fellow, friendly companions on the journey of life. Bugger! 

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