Today I discovered that a friend had died. He had died almost four months ago. Not much of a friend am I, to remain oblivious to a fact like this for so long.
A few years back my family joined the local branch of the Doctor Who Club of Australia.Â There were a few different blokes in the club named Mark, so my daughter distinguished them with nicknames. This one fellow seemedÂ quite jolly and so Rhiannon called him “Laughing Mark”. It stuck and so many others called him that too.
Truth be told, I suspect that the laughter hid frustration and even sadness. But he loved his science fiction (as we all do) and his conversation was always lively.
Now one thing that was a bit frustrating for our chapter of the club was location. At first we held the club meetings in the local United Services club. They have nice meals and there was plenty of space. Alas they would shut the bistro around 9pm and wanted us and the kids out. So we moved to a riverside restaurant where the food was excellent and the kids had their own area to eat and play. But then the owner/chef had medical issues and the place was sold to someone whose vision clashed with our needs. So we moved again to a nearby bowling club. But they kept refusing entry to certain members. (Come on folks, surely you realise Doctor Who Club members can be a bit unique).
And so we ended up at Miranda RSL. What can I say? I have come to love the place. We sit. We talk science fiction. The place has an almost English pub friendliness to it. And the RSL Club alsoÂ runs a great trivia night on Fridays.
But somewhere along the way Laughing Mark got lost. He did not turn up for the Christmas do. No for any club meetings since.
Did we investigate?
Not until my lovely wife remembered a friend (one from a completely different aspect of our lives) who lived next door to Laughing Mark. So Nicole asked Lucia.
The answer: he died of a heart problem in late December.
Not a single person in the club knew. None of us hadÂ thought enough to check up on him. None of us had attended his funeral (because we did not know). Today Nicole and I visited the cemetery and found his plaque and payed our respects.
So why am I telling you guys all this?
I guess catharsis is part of it. However I am not going to wax lyrical about the meaning of life, and this and that and so on. Instead I am simply going to let you take what you want from the chainÂ of thoughts in this post.