AUSTRIA

Dear John

I found some extra photos of you today, that weren’t in the first batch which I copied to your brother David and your friend Dave.

These were from our holiday in Austria, two or three years ago.  There are lots of really nice ones.  Including ones that capture moments I have thought back on since this happened – you sitting in our hotel room watching football (maybe it was something significant like the World Cup), you sitting in the lovely little seat we used to have for meals, where we were so pleased with the quality of what we were served every night.

But the main thing which has struck me is that in no way do you look anything like old!  You are clearly middle aged only.  You do not look like an old man.  You were never old, you were definitely taken well before your time.

You used to worry about your hair going grey and falling out, but as I always used to say to you, on both counts you were very lucky.  The colour was only just beginning to go, it was slightly becoming ‘salt and pepper’ with some grey hairs at the temples, but as I always used to reassure you, in general it still definitely looked dark/black, rather than grey.  And you were only slightly receding at the front, with just a little (sweet) hole on the top/back of your head.  No-where near balding, darling.  You were lucky.

But much good it has done you, as now you are gone entirely.

As well as not being old, you don’t look that large at all.  You look very medium in size, a little bit of a tummy, but not that broad.  In the more recent photos, like in Venice, you do look bigger.  But in Austria, well no way do you look bigger front to back than I look now!

So I cannot see that you died ‘naturally’, at the end of a natural life span.

I would say there were three elements to why you died:

  1. Health: I acknowledge you had got quite large, and on top of the fact you had been told about ‘Heart Failure’ (which we clearly didn’t take seriously enough), your weight and unfitness had obviously had more of an effect than we’d realised on your heart.
  2. Job: I think you were particularly stressed about things going on at work, including the imminent restructuring, and the pressure you were being put under, and your concerns about your appraisal.  I think this was a significant contributing factor.
  3. Hospital: Once you were trapped in the net that is Intensive Care, with one thing after another going wrong and pulling you downhill – well, you weren’t able to battle your way out of it.

But as people have put in some of the sympathy cards, it was definitely ‘too soon’.

You died a middle aged man, not an old man.

You were only in the late summer of your life, not even autumn, no-where near winter.

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