My brother died yesterday. One of the millions of ordinary, anonymous people who populate this earth, he lived out his life without drama, fuss or greed. A bachelor, he had simple needs, did not care for travel, adventure, holidays, theatre or dining out. For many years he had had no car preferring a couple of short daily walks for exercise, with the occasional bus ride or a weekly lift to the supermarket from his sister to shop.
Years ago he learned judo when it first became popular in this country but in latter years took to jogging. Sometimes twice a day he would cover several miles through the lanes of Essex, always clutching his handkerchief to wipe a sweaty brow. Neon-bright lycra would have been unthinkable to him, a navy or grey track-suit was as far as he would stretch towards sporting attire.
Quiet and shy, he always obeyed the rules and complied with instruction; absolutely the right sort of man to do secret work in the army. Nothing glamorous you understand, just essential information regarding supplies and such.
He worked with Dad until my father retired and sold his business. Thereafter, until he became entitled to a pension, he chose to live off his savings feeling it was wrong to claim help off the state when he could survive perfectly well without.
So a gentle man has slipped away after 82 years on earth. An amazing length of time for a baby born prematurely at six months. Weighing just 1lb 8oz in 1937 he was not expected to survive but his tenacious mother made a bed from a shoe-box, cleaned him with olive-oil, wrapped him in a shawl for a nappy and willed him to live.
Thankfully, his end was not prolonged. Very few people will notice he has gone but a little bit of his loving family went along with him on the journey.