When I hovered over the Title for this blog I had no idea what to say as a header for what is a blog about a very sad day, for Dave especially. So sad.
Earlier today we found out that his fabulous cousin had yesterday fallen off a roof and died. The tone of Dave’s voice as he was speaking on the phone immediately sparked my fear for what the conversation was about but when he finished the call I was not expecting such a shock.
Dave’s cousin was slightly older than him and had been a roofer for as long as can be, but recently he had given up the work as he was now in his early 60s much to the relief of all the family. So to hear he had fallen off a roof just goes to show that once a roofer always a roofer. He was a generous man, a kind and welcoming man, he took in his niece and raised her as his own, he supported both his sons through their trials and was a devoted husband. He doted on his mum and included her on all the family holidays and outings. In fact I would say he put everyone before himself.
We spent one Christmas day with this side of the family going for a Christmas curry rather than the usual turkey meal and we had a blast. Before we moved down to Cornwall we went over to his sons Gin Bar for a glorious night of food and gin tasting and as usual he was generous to a fault. It must be an Atkins trait.
My heart goes out to his wife as she was met on returning home from work by the police and the nightmare began. I can not fathom how she, and his mum, must be feeling as this shocking accidental death sinks in.
Dave went into wander mode, he wandered through the flat, thankful that he had not gone to work, but hating the fact he wasn’t busy to take his mind off it all. He and his cousin had grown up together, the Atkins clan was big and inviting and the kids all played and socialised together. It’s like loosing my left arm said Dave. And I knew what he meant. He’d worked with his cousin before we moved to Cornwall, whilst his cousin was still working as a roofer, and we will be eternally grateful for that work as it kept us afloat. They were like naughty school boys together, ragging each other and laughing like drains. Dave would work all day with him and then sometimes find any old excuse to have to pop over for a coffee.
We’d seen them twice in Cornwall when they were down on holiday and we’d popped into see them when we’d been up in the Midlands.
Dave has spoken to everyone he knows and keeps saying how he can’t believe he’s gone…. it’s shock and grief and the suddenness of being here one moment and gone the next. Life is short sometimes, too short.
I did what I could to comfort Dave but I too was in shock, and I became cold and tired and just wanted to sleep. We each have a different way to deal with sudden shocking news and events, and this must be my way of shutting it out for a while.
It makes us realise that we are extremely fortunate to be living where we are, following our heart to fulfil a dream of living here, working here and putting our roots here.
Time is never on our side, it is relentless in it’s precise rhythm stealing moments from each one of us that we can never recapture. The lesson when something like this happens is to bring us up short and slap a mirror to reflect our own lives so we can see the need to relish and savour as much as is possible as we live each day. This isn’t going out and necessarily seeing the world, or having amazing adventures, but taking that moment to be grateful for the bit of blue sky today, the buds on the bush in the garden, the lovely comment made by a stranger… anything to show that life is worth living and partaking in, even if it is in a small and humble way.
This doesn’t take away from the loss and grief that is coursing through our bodies, that will hang heavy around like dense fog… this is a place we all have to visit at some point in our lives, and eventually we come through the other side.
It’s time to remember Dave’s cousin as the cheeky giggly kind and thoughtful man he was and to celebrate his life as best we can. We will miss you Michael.