This post is more for me that my blog readers but in case you are interested the commemorative afternoon tea for my friend who died was a great success. Eighteen people in all gathered to remember him, while some colleagues from the Faculty of Pharmacy sent a lovely floral decoration which was a total surprise and took pride of place on the dining room table. I was too busy to take photos of the table set for tea, but the photo below was a collage put together by the "old scientist" for the event. They are photos from the time my friend was four years old until several years ago.
I used the photo on the bottom right for his obituary in the newspapers. In a suit, as almost always, looking relaxed and happy, I thought this represented him very well.
Almost everything now is in the hands of the trust company. All that remains of this family is in a small public storage locker and will be sold off, as were the contents of his house several years ago. Everything was carefully appraised and auctioned off and frankly it brought a very small amount of money in comparison to what it all had cost. Several things I bought myself since I knew that they meant something to him, especially his grandfather clock, which he carefully wound each week and kept in excellent working condition until his later years. I bought it for my son and we had it repaired and now it has pride of place in his home. He remembers it from when he was young and we used to visit my friend's house. I also bought a large oil seascape by a local artist which now hangs in my dining room. He loved this painting and I could bring myself to let it go to the auction.
The other day I gave the trust company officer his Rolex watch which somehow I ended up keeping for him. His initials are engraved on the back, which actually lowers its value quite remarkably, but this was his last personal possession. I put his framed degrees and framed awards in the storage locker and they too will be discarded along with the photos and the family bible. Almost every trace of my friend and his wife, who was my friend, will disappear.
We spend so much of our life acquiring things. But we can't take them with us and no one else values them the way we do. When we no longer have use for them they are discarded or sold to someone else for a song, to someone who sees only the bargain and not the special meaning this object had for us. I am realistic enough to realize that even my children will not value some of my possessions as I do. They are just things that appealed to me or someone, a treasured friend perhaps, gave to me and thus gave the item meaning. So that's why now I tell people, don't give me anything I have to dust, just consumables thank you. I already have too much stuff which will go for a song or into the landfill when I am gone.
So the above photo collage and the two photos below are all that are left of my two friends besides the items I mentioned.
My friend at 19, in 1943, in his RCAF uniform. The other is his wife, my dear friend, in her fifties. This photo usually hangs on my bedroom wall.
But I have one last thing left to do. When my friend's house was being cleared out of the "junk" we found his wife's ashes in a cupboard in the basement. I had no idea that he even had them. Now I have them and while my friend's ashes were taken care of by the funeral home, I still have this to take care of. I have decided that I will take them to the Botanical Gardens at the university and scatter them there. Both my friend and his wife were involved in the set-up of the Physick Garden there so it does have some meaning for them. I have checked and while it is not officially allowed they turn a blind eye and told me to come at the end of the day when there are few people about.
This is the last in the series of posts about my friend and his journey with Alzheimer's disease which I shared with him. Thank you for reading and my fervent wish is that may none of us be so afflicted.