Saturday, January 20, 2024

The List

In chatting with a friend the other day she brought up a familiar topic amongst us oldies.

Death and the ongoing loneliness as we age when those we loved (not family or relations) have tossed off this mortal coil. 

She said she had made a list of all those she had been close to since she was a child who had died, good friends and lovers amongst them.

I started on my own list and was astonished when it reached nearly 50. All departed from this planet, the youngest being 5 or 6 when I was in school and she died of meningitis.

One old lover caught my attention, the last I heard from him was 5 or 6 years ago on an email which I didn't respond to.

I deep-googled him and found he had died last September -"from a long illness."

I had written about him a while ago here and in the post had linked to a six-part story about the relationship which I was going to publish in a short story collection but opted not to for fear of hurting him for even though I had changed the names he would recognize himself.

Fact is often stranger than fiction.

I am wondering what other deep dives on my list might reveal in my old blog posts.


  1. It's hard to realise how many we have known have slipped away. Inevitable, but harsh.

  2. My list is shorter than yours - but growing. Which I suppose is inevitable. Remembering them (the good and the bad) keeps them alive for me.

  3. It's times like this that I wish I had more pictures...I'm grateful for Facebook which posts memories from years past. Like today, there was a picture, from many years ago, that I had posted on Facebook to share one of the Ladies Who Lunch adventures out to the oldest airport in the area which is still an airfield with its gorgeous Art Deco terminal that has a nice cafe inside.

    I was taking the photo so I'm not pictured, which is okay by me. One of the ladies died a couple of years ago. Another no longer joins our group, which has grown over the years.

    How many more of us will be gone in another 5 years?

  4. I didn't have close friends during childhood or even later years, always moving meant new people often, so I don't know if any of my scoolmates had died, and from my family, my parents-in-law are both gone and my own parents too. Also a sister-in-law, her husband and son (all in the one car crash) and a nephew from drug complications. Everyone else I know is still kicking.

  5. Out of the blue a few years ago I tried finding an old work colleague, Timothy. He was so lovely; had covered for me when I was out on maternity leave. Found he had passed away not too long before. Made me so sad; I had waited too long. His obituary was one of the loveliest I've read (and I do think a good obituary can be beautiful; always read them when I got a "real" newspaper). Tim was so well educated, an author, editor, etc. But it made no mention of any of those achievements; talked only of his family and his loves. The things that matter.

  6. I've been to a LOT of funerals but I think the people I've loved and lost are mostly still alive.
    I think I wrote a post about my colleague Janusz, I hadn't seen him in over 10 years when he died of a sudden heart attack but I sobbed like a baby at the funeral

    1. I've had a similar experience, being unexpectedly deeply upset by the passing of a former lover I hadn't been in touch with for more than 40 years. Our relationship had ended on a friendly note, so it's not like there was unfinished business or regret. I'm still curious about my reaction, but ... I guess we don't ever stop caring about people we once loved and who once loved us. -Kate

    2. Kate, you got it in one! There were factors about Janusz's life and death which made it seem especially cruel so that maybe increased my upset

  7. I've never had that many close friends, but if I think about other friends and acquaintances, they're mostly still alive and kicking. But a year ago we lost a good friend in her sixties to strep A and sepsis, which was very sad.

  8. It's "funny," isn't it, how people who aren't really in our lives anymore ... you'd think their deaths wouldn't have much of an impact ... but they do. -Kate

  9. My list would be long and I am far younger than you but have you noticed how many die before reaching old age? I'm sorry for your losses.


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