Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011)

I wrote here about Christopher Hitchins having been diagnosed with oesophagal cancer, well, he has now sadly succumbed to this evil disease.

It's hard to believe that the great voice is now still, that the mind so erudite and acerbic, profound and witty is gone, the brain, so crammed full with learning, literature, history and experience is now just so much meat.

I think the only other occasion when I was so moved by the death of someone I had never met was when John Lennon was shot in 1980. And maybe it's for the same reason.

Reading Hitch or listening to him speak, you had the feeling that you knew him. He was honestly stating his truth with incredible eloquence and facility - maybe you agreed, maybe not, but you knew where he stood.

The above is a short compilation (credit: SETH - YOUTUBE - THETHINKINGATHEIST) of some great Hitch moments, but I would urge you to search the web for more.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Life is Life

We gathered on Friday at a beautiful funeral service on a beautiful day to pay our respects to Helmut and take our leave. There were over two hundred people there and I am sure many more would have liked to attend. Helmut's parents were there, his sister, his wife, his children, his best friends, his work colleagues. Some of us spoke, some played music; we all shed tears and then smiled, laughed and grieved.
It was a celebration of Helmut's life but also a celebration and an affirmation of life itself. A confirmation of how precious it is, how good it can be, of how tenuous our grasp on it is, how it can vanish from one heartbeat to the next; a kick up the backside to get those things done which we really want to do, to get those things said that we really want to say, a reminder to make sure that those we love know that we love them.