Like me, he was a keen blogger, and had been writing regularly about his battle with the disease. He was young, fit and vibrant, and it seems so unfair that he's been ripped away from his family at such an early age. I can't begin to imagine what my friend must be going through.
The mood continued to deepen after I opened up my music chest to find a pile of beautifully developed black and white photographs, which, over the years I'd obviously meant to frame but never got around to it. The pictures go back to 1993 and are of friends and family members looking terribly young and smiling happily on warm summer days. Some were of people I no longer see. Some of the faces are no longer with us. It became almost painful to look through them. Face after face, smile after smile, memory upon memory. Where the hell does life go?
We blink, and then another year goes by...
This slow process of cleansing my life is throwing up all sorts of emotions, which include a feeling of great relief. Another two bin bags went out today, stacked full of paper, and hole-ridden socks, and little bottles of toiletries I always thought I might use one day, but now smell of hay. It's almost astonishing what I've hoarded over the years, but the more memories I sift through, the more determined I am to push even harder to achieve my goals this year. What I've done so far isn't nearly enough.
Those reading should not confuse drive with mania, by the way. I've just re-read the previous paragraph and it sounds a little bit on the edge. It's not. I'm just in the process of doing what I do with the start of each year; drawing a line under the previous year, and whipping myself into a frenzy of excitement about life's possibilities. Loose your sense of magic and enthusiasm in this game and you'll go under forever. I'm also benefitting wildly from daily exercise.
My alacritous cleaning regime is generating tangible results however, and not just mental ones. I found my iPod yesterday night. There's still no sign of the gum guard I'm meant to wear every night to prevent me from grinding my teeth. I bit my tongue twice in the night as a direct consequence of not wearing it. Tragic.
After a morning of life laundry, with Nathan doing taxes and things in the sitting room, we went to the gym and then into Muswell Hill to see my dear friend Nicky and her charming 20-month old, Oscar who has a large vocabulary already but still calls Mummy Daddy, which is priceless. Apparently she's given up correcting him! I love the idea that he might grow up calling her Daddy. It's so wonderfully eccentric!