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Hey aren't you the guy who's always being mistaken for somebody else?

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» Tales of the Unexplained

You never forget...
You never forget your first experience with death; No, I am not speaking from beyond the grave, but talking about that very first instance where death jumps out from behind the safety of the evening news, the newspaper, the stories from friends etc. Hitting you in the stomach with such ferocity you are left with that sinking feeling, the insatiable hunger, the black void and you can't actually understand that this is actually happening to you.

Some four years ago I was a dramatically 'younger' little dalai and was one of the few lucky people to have lived to the age of 18 without having lost anybody special to me. No Great Great Aunt, no school friend in an accident, no neighbour I knew of: life was sweet and I had spent my years enjoying my wonderful family, friends and scarpering about on the gert lush fields of Somerset doing the varied and enjoyable things boys do in 18 years of life.

One of these people who made my upbringing so special was Grandad. A man who despite being born with debilitating condition and spent the first few years of life in hospital, struggled against all odds and grew up to live a totally unpredicted 'normal' life.

This man was loved by all and gave all he could to bring cheer and happiness to those around him: he would think nothing of the difficult, long working day shift in the motor factory and the additional nightshift at the bakery as this brought his son (my Uncle) the option to travel to the boarding college the family could otherwise never afford.

When I came into the world I was blessed enough for this man to have taken a particular shine to me. Growing up I was treated (Read: Spoiled) with trips to the zoo, days out at the beach with ice-cream and candyfloss and adventures to far away adventure parks alike. Sometimes amazing evenings were had through the simple event of a playground visit and then watching Dad's Army together as he stroked my back. As I grew up into a young teen, the support and love through my education was always felt despite this old gentleman strictly sticking to his title of 'a man of few words'.

He didn't really need words though for what he did for me: the quiet smile when I showed him my achievements, the open door and fresh lemonade poured when I arrived for a visit, that cheeky wink when I was meant to be 'told off'; all were more powerful to me than the deepest conversations from others.

So when his age and all of its accompanying demons became more powerful than the tired will of this once great man, I found myself and close family surrounding his bed; timing the ever increasing gap between breaths, and watching the rosy-pink blood vessels on his cheek retreating to leave a waxy, white reflection of our truly beloved head of the family.

He was gone. He couldn't be gone- he's always been there, how can he be gone? I knew about death, I knew the science and the biology of it, but this couldn't actually happen to MY Grandad, no matter what happens in my life, he would always be there in his home to offer the ever-present company and lemonade surely?

I couldn't actually understand that he could possibly be gone until *THUD*... this huge combine hammer of death & reality kicked me deep in the stomach, and all of a sudden, the thousand things I wanted to say, the stories I wanted to tell him and the future I wanted to show him were all impossible.

He was gone, and I had encountered my first dealing with the selfish and unforgiving death.

Later that afternoon following the doctor’s visits and endless phone calls I felt a sudden wave of claustrophobia and this house, under the dark cloud of death was too much. I escaped to the garden to 'Grandad's bench' and had a bit of a sob.

My uncle popped out and sat down next to me, gave me a hug and said a few comforting words. He gave my back a loving stroke which instantly reminded me of the days with Grandad watching Dad's Army, and then walked off leaving me in peace. I remember giving way to the tears and feeling the heat of the sun on my neck as I sat head in hands expressing my moment of grief.

Moments later I popped back inside to see everyone for more 'group' comfort only to find my mother, auntie & grandmother inside.

"Where's Uncle Paul?" I enquired, wishing to thank him for a good set of comforting words.

"Oh he's popped over to see the Reverend" answered mother.

"OK, I was just chatting to him in the garden and he made me realise something about...."

Looking up somewhat alarmed, mother, auntie & grandmother rushed to inform me he had left well over an hour ago.

At that highly confusing point, and following a minutes' intense conversation, I had a realisation that has changed my opinion on death to this day:

When we lose somebody at the end of their life, our grief is derived from a purely selfish origin- the fact that we can see them no longer and undertake all that we would like to do and share with them.

When death visits, he isn't delivering the dreaded blow to the stomach described earlier, but whisking away the tired and used-up contents of our friends and loved ones so they may suffer no longer. When we realise death is just another part of life, we are able to accept people leaving us and let them live on in the memories and stories we share to those around us.

This view upon the subject of death is indeed questionable and no doubt won't be shared by everyone, but those few minutes in the garden on Grandad's bench were more questionable than I as a sceptic and science-lover would ever have believed, yet I have drawn comfort from them both ever since.

Thank you.
(Fri 4th Jul 2008, 19:55, More)

» What nonsense did you believe in as a kid?

I practiced it as a kid...
and still believe to this day, that running up the stairs using your hands AND feet is the quickest (and arguably most stylish) manner of getting upstairs.
(Thu 19th Jan 2012, 19:21, More)

» Social Networking Gaffes

The Flaw of Hotmail...
I have a friend called Alex who when he isn't shagging every bird he can get his shropshire mits on, travels the world on a cruise ship for his course placement experience.

A lovely lad he is, keeping in touch with numerous emails and photographs of 'mint beaches' and 'well-up-for-it-fanny'... needless to say, his mails are a refreshing change from Amazon's deal of the week and the latest breakthrough from CheapErecto.com.

This boy's address book is lengthy, and with every week's mattress conquests- extends by a few extra names and emails.

Now hotmail has a handy feature in the address book- allowing Nicknames for each email to be saved to aid with the name/mail matching up- Unfortunately for Alex he was unaware that his handy little 'reminder names' appeared at the top of the email - readily available for each recipient to see...

Highlights included "Kirsty Bus-Face", "Sand", "Up the bum" and "Mintest Fanny in the world".
(Tue 16th Sep 2008, 1:59, More)

» The Best / Worst thing I've ever eaten

Repressed childhood horror...
I cannot believe that I have chuckle-parped my way through so many of this week's entries without disclosing the following tale...

Ladies and gentlemen, repression is a wonderful thing, for I have somehow managed to tidy away this memory of consumption into a well locked cupboard of my brain; a place where accidental soilings, regrettably monstrous fornications and this tale have resided until now...

As a child of around 6 years old I used to spend summer holiday travelling the country with my Sales Agent father - he would have to frequent clients nationwide and due to, what I realise now as employment and financial issues, I would tag along in his car to 'go on exploring adventures' as we saw the sights of the various cities we had to frequent.

I used to love it as we'd usually shoe-horn in musuem trips, icecreams on the beach or even (location dependant) the hyper-pant-wettingly good fun of a water park!

Dad was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer one summer and his specialists prescribed an intensive set of radiotherapy and chemotherapy to hit it hard - Dad being both incredibly stubborn and a very keen runner (marathon, triathlons, ironman etc) he decided to go with the treatment but carry on his full work commitments despite a now shiny bald head, excruciating ulcers and uncontrollable vomitting.

As a young child I didn't fully understand the situation other than getting to draw a big cartoon face on his shiny head, copying his intermittant limp and bringing him a 'special blanket' when he did have spells of crippling fatigue.

Well this summer was no different - we were set to go off 'sploring' and loaded several boxes of brochures and swatches into his car for a day away visiting clients; whilst business deals were going on I'd be left in the car with full control of the radio and cd player, and usually a service station bought 'pack lunch' of sandwich, milkshake and delicious, delicious flapjack.

As I reached to the backseat to grab my lunch I noticed my milkshake was tucked into the door pocket - banana Frijj wasn't my usual favourite but Dad loved that one so I thought we were probably sharing... Yes, that must be it as it's half full...

As I greedily chugged a full mouthful I realised immediately something was chronically wrong - an accrid, acidic wall of chemicals filled my mouth and I had already engaged my swallow reflex... Down into my stomach went a full mouthful of CHEMOTHERAPY INDUCED VOMIT.

A remarkable resemblance to Frijj Banana in texture, colour and consistency but in reality the forced ejections of a stomach filled with festering bile and treatment poisons - crying childish screams of horror, I screwed the lid back on as quick as my little flapjack and crayon encrusted fingers could swivvel, replaced it to the door pocket and then saw the Mars milkshake that had rolled into the footwell.

I never mentioned this to Dad. Ever. But even the very thought of touch a Frijj's distinctly shaped bottle makes an accrid heartburn brew from within. *shudder*

Length? it was 1992 he was diagnosed, and despite 4 recurrances, numerous hospitalisations and being given 12months to live in 2004, he is still with us today - no doubt annoying someone or talking the hardsell in Worcestershire.
(Sun 29th May 2011, 14:14, More)

» Blood

Limerick I Like
There once was a vampire called Mabel,
Whose periods were rather unstable.
Once under full moon,
She sat with a spoon,
And drank herself under the table!


Haiku, Haiku very much...
(Sat 9th Aug 2008, 0:10, More)
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