I thought about this yesterday when we attended the funeral of Howard, Mrs P’s cousin.
I won’t recount his entire life except to say that after a fairly shaky start in his youth, he became an accomplished engineer and moderately successful businessman.
He loved the outdoors and his idea of a stroll was a six hour hike across the Lancashire moors. He also loved sailing and had previous built himself a yacht.
As Howard approached retirement he set about his ultimate project – to build a 48 foot steel-hulled yacht which was to carry him and his wife wherever their whim took them.
I’ve seen the photo of the yacht as it took shape and it really was a massive undertaking that few people would attempt, no matter how ‘handy’ they were, and it was all hut ready to launch.
Howard and his wife had sold everything – the business, their home, furniture the lot – and they should have been setting sail about now. But they haven’t.
He was diagnosed with cancer in January and died in a hospice earlier this month. All Howard’s plans disappeared in a matter of months.
As I mentioned on John Gray’s blog yesterday, we may complain that life is a bitch, but death is a complete and utter bastard when it comes to scuppering the futures we’ve so carefully mapped out.
Hopefully Howard’s yacht will eventually put to sea, if not skippered by him. I think he would have liked that.
And I doubt if he saw his illness as God’s last laugh. He had no truck with religion and his was the first secular funeral I’ve been to and it was just as much a dignified celebration of a life as any other I’ve attended.
So here’s to you Howard, a good man with ambitious plans that he almost made reality. There aren’t many like him these days.