Last Thursday we realised we hadn’t seem Albert for a couple of days, others hadn’t either and after knocking on the front door and discussions – what should we do next – we peered through the front windows. Albert was lying on the floor his body skewed at an awkward angle against the wall. The ambulance and police were called and whilst we waited we broke down the low fence between our houses. He was still moving although clearly very ill. After the door was rammed and the lock forced the ambulance men did their work and he was taken away. The policeman handed us the keys to his house.
Drama, then silence and normality.
Later his son came – Albert had suffered a massive stroke, he was unconscious in hospital and on a morphine pump.
Albert told us stories of his life as a Policeman and before that his time in the army. Tales of bringing up his kids, the move back to where his wife had lived during the war and later her death, his Mum who kept her money in her bra when he was a kid in Middlesbrough. Once or twice he passed a bag of veg over the fence when he had over shopped at the market, or a clump of mint for the Sunday potatoes, he cut our grass because we were busy and looked over our house when we were away. Others have similar stories to tell and the days passed with folks asking if they had heard any news and telling their own stories of Albert – he was a one-off someone said, cantankerous, sweary, politically incorrect, gruff, but we were all were very fond of him.
On Tuesday we heard he had died.
We realise his quick passing – one moment poised on a ladder painting and then gone is definitely the best for him but we are already missing him.