We Lost A Friend Today

This was meant to be a weekend of celebrations. The Royal Wedding of Harry and Meghan and, more importantly for the men in the Black household, the small matter of the F.A. Cup Final at Wembley between the mighty Manchester United and the not so mighty Chelsea. Harry and William normally attend the final so poor planning on the part of the ginger prince. I wonder if he will have it on at the reception?

The blog also celebrated its first birthday. Yes a year ago this weekend I posted my first rambling thoughts and it’s been downhill ever since. I wanted to thank everyone again for their support and encouragement over these last crazy 12 months. This blog has helped restore my faith in both myself and in my fellow man (and woman). It has breathed new life into old bones and a tired heart. It has been part of my regeneration.

I have proven some people wrong and I hope others right. Those who believed in me and showed faith in me. I also hope I have begun to repay some of that faith back but I know I still have a long road ahead of me. Today I also wanted to share exciting updates on my writing and running projects. Important milestones reached and fresh challenges ahead. All that was placed on hold, however, when we received the news late last night of the death of an old boss of mine.

He had recently retired after a successful policing career where he held senior positions in England, Northern Ireland and Canada. He was a mere 57 years old but as fit as a fiddle. He once cycled the perimeter of Northern Ireland in four days to raise funds for a charity close to my heart. He died peacefully in his sleep of natural causes. The suddenness and close proximity of death once again crashes into our lives scattering our grand plans and schemes in all directions. It cares not. It goes where it wants, when it wants. That is the way of death.

He was a hard taskmaster with high standards but he was also fair. He pushed me when I didn’t want to be pushed and didn’t think I could achieve anymore. He helped mould me into the investigator I am today. He was good to me, had a wicked sense of humour but also a kind heart beneath his stern and imposing work demeanour. He was equally generous towards Fionnuala and the kids. He became a friend to us all with his infectious laugh and cocky swagger.

Blogging is a selfish vocation so I’m naturally going to turn this around to myself. How do I feel? Well, very sad that he is gone and more than a little angry that he is. Angry with myself for not keeping in closer contact with him and angry with God for once again allowing bad stuff to happen to people we care about. I want to know why. But I know my prayers will be met with silence. They always are.

I also feel strengthened. More determined to forge ahead and attain the goals I have set myself in the years I have left. I refuse to take my foot off the accelerator or let the doubters and the mockers drag me down. I refuse to let my many flaws and weaknesses derail me from the path I am currently on. I want my family to be proud of me. There is still so much to do, so much to achieve.

So rest in peace John wherever you are today. I imagine you are cycling hard on some long, straight road with the sun beating down on your back. You lived a short life but you lived it with vigour and purpose. You squeezed every last drop out of it. Thank you for teaching me to look beyond the comfort zone where life is tougher, but ultimately, so much more rewarding and satisfying. I have many reasons for carrying on. You are now another one.

56 thoughts on “We Lost A Friend Today

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  1. We just attended the funeral of a 12-year-old boy who was in my son’s grade. It was surreal hearing his family describe a funny, happy, playful kid -all in past tense. A few speakers spoke of “God’s will” and “his (the boy’s) time” to go.
    I just finished reading When Bad Things Happen to Good People; in which the author’s main point is that God is not smacking people down wantonly, demanding we still have faith in His judgement. Rather: life is random events and results of man’s agency, and God offers His support and comfort.
    Personally, I have trouble fitting God neatly into the jumbled jigsaw of theological thoughts I’ve come to in the last few years. Any conclusions are irritated by our church’s doctrine, insistent that God IS in control; then, logical assertions of my own, and others, compounded by these “random” events of life.
    In earlier years, I often felt His influence. Now, I do not. However, I also self-protect and numb against ANY connections out of fears of hurt and distrust.
    Perhaps He really is there, like the parent of a rebellious youth, waiting for a call home but wary of driving us further away. Perhaps He’s not. Perhaps God is merely humanity’s construction, but only in the sense of our DECIDING to see where divinity may or may not actually exist.
    I DO know that attributing the evils of the world (like premature death) to God leads people of our mindset to blame and distrust, to noticing cracks in the oft-repeated Christian aphorisms.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautifully said. We wish we could turn back time to then spend it with those we respect and hold dear. We don’t always appreciate the treasure we have in relationships until they are taken from us. Life is fragile, temporary, so the loss makes us hold a little tighter to those people who mean the world to us. It also spurs us on the strive despite the pain of what might lie ahead.

    Congratulations on your first year! I cannot believe you have only been blogging one year! Awesome job. Keep sharing yourself, you have much to offer us readers. Blessings for the day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am sorry for the loss you all are feeling, it sounds like your friend was a wonderful man.
    It helps me to talk with the people I have lost; I believe they are still with us and can hear what we are saying. I would suggest trying it say the words that are in your heart, even the hurt, angry words that you may be feeling.
    I would also like to add
    Happy Anniversary, your life, your path led you here, to your healing, for your healing, to us and for us. I enjoy reading your posts; they are full of heart.
    One more thing; God does not keep a tally of who we have helped, that my friend is a human thing. I am sure if he did, your blog posts would have put you over the top.
    You all take care
    Nikki

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so sorry for your loss. John sounds like a wonderful man. Death sometimes is one of those things that has no earthly purpose – we can’t make sense of it and God isn’t willing to share His. I tend to look at death as a trust exercise between me and God. At least, that’s how it was when my husband died – God took care of everything and His presence then was powerful and I knew that He had it all under control. I couldn’t do anything else but trust Him – and since then, as I have healed, He has continually asked me, in His incredibly mysterious ways, “Do you trust Me?”

    I hope and pray that you will find comfort as you grieve. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful tribute to your former boss. 57 years is far too young. It points out how little we can take for granted. Sorry for your loss. Have some compassion with your own suffering. I know your boss would have wanted that.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “But I know my prayers will be met with silence. They always are.”

    I say the following not as someone who is constantly hooked into God, but as someone who has some real struggles at times –

    I know what you mean, but I also believe that it sometimes depends on whether or not we are listening. Also, whether or not we are prepared to listen to the answer we receive.

    Sometimes – as christians (or people trying to be Christians) – we concentrate on the “Three score years and ten” of Psalm 90 v 10, but ignore the end of that verse – “yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”

    We (we all) also do well in remembering Ecclesiastes 3 vv 1- 8.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. O my goodness, I’m so sorry for your loss. I saw you like my post so wanted to check yours out and love it. You may like my post I recently wrote about my way of viewing faith in my own personal way. I’m seriously only sharing the link to help during a hard time, as we all go through them. 😦

    It’s just a personal blog (I’ve changed a lot since I first started it): https://pausetounderstand.blogspot.com/2018/05/leap.html

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m new to your blog here, stumbled upon it late last night. I’m so very sorry for you loss. I’m praying you’ll find peace in your pain and come through this with more renewed faith. His purpose is always the right one, no matter how much it hurts.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lovely tribute, and a reminder to live every day fully. Sometimes I wish I could hear God’s voice aloud, and in those times I remind myself that Scripture is his letter to me. Praying for you, Stephen.

    Liked by 1 person

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