The reason my series of reasons to be cheerful stopped after part 1 is that my optimistic notion that we might all be able to come out the other side of this unscathed and life go back to normal came crashing to the ground when Bob, who was the kindest, silliest, most generous and funniest man you could ever hope to meet, died last week in hospital after contracting COVID-19. Today when his immediate family said goodbye to him the rest of us could only be there in spirit, although there will, I’m sure, be a chance to get together to remember him once this is all over.
In the meantime it helps to remember what I read somewhere after someone else I loved died, which is that grief is just love with nowhere to go. It’s only because so many people loved Bob that so many people are devastated by the news, and there is some comfort in that; in how much joy he brought to so many people, from the family and friends he loved so dearly to the kids he coached at football to the schoolmates he’d been going to Selhurst Park with since the 1950s to the angst-ridden teens he teased so expertly when we came home and filled his house with incense and cigarettes and noise. We were all lucky to have him.
(If you knew Bob, or just want to help, his family are raising money for NHS Charities Together in his memory.)