Wednesday 3 February 2010

Dick: As he lay

The visit

Even more memories come rushing back as I think about Dick my friend who just passed on, he was there when I moved to my new apartment and a number of times offered help to go shopping at furniture and equipment stores because he had a big car.

As soon as I heard the news, I wrote my tribute blog and made for his home, Ous had said he would be there all day, so I thought it was the least I could do.

I had planned to take the tram and the bus, the bus however could not run because there was an accident in the tunnel, so I took the ferry to the north bank of the IJ river and got another bus from there – I tried hard to remember how this particular bus ran and just about got off at the right bus stop.

As he lay

I got in the door, took off my ruck sack and hat, shook Ous’ hand and went upstairs to see Dick.

He was laid in his bed, silent, serene, peaceful and still, he had died in his bed and really did not want to see anymore of hospitals so Ous persuaded the authorities to let him lie in his bed until his burial.

Still, he was, the blanket halfway up, dressed in a jacket with a nicely tied cravat, arms by his side and hands placed just over his abdomen on the blanket – a most respectable poise.

I had not seen a dead person since July 1977, I was not too sure of myself as I wept and sobbed, I paused and whispered some words to my friend, I stepped out and was comforted by Ous as he closed the door.

I composed myself and went back in to see Dick for the last time, I stood at the foot of the bed, looked at him and then left the room – a man had died.

To honour the man

He will be buried on Monday and all of us who knew him will be gathered to give him a wonderful send-off, in all the sadness we will celebrate his wonderful life. Dick spoke so many languages he so easily switched between them amongst his company of international friends; I am told a good few of them will be there.

The visit was for about an hour when other friends came to say their condolences, I hugged Ous thanking him for caring for Dick and being a good friend – the young man must have been overwhelmed with grief, he had just made tea for Dick and packed him a bag as if he was going on a journey and Dick left just as he went to make a second cup of tea.

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