A Long-Distance Farewell

At 1pm today, I logged on to my computer to watch the funeral of an old friend. Thanks to modern technology made popular during the pandemic lockdowns, it was streamed live from the chapel. That was a blessing, as I could not have contemplated the five hour car journey each way to where he lived in Dorset.

Mick Kemp was a talented architect, and much-admired craftsman maker of fine bespoke artistic furniture. I met him 52 years ago when I was 18 years old, and although I was not one of his oldest or closest friends, we were certainly good friends whenever we were able to meet up at the regular gatherings when I still lived in London.

I remember his waxed moustache, his habit of still wearing waistcoats, and most of all his open, wide smile. I have never seen him angry or upset, not once.

Then life got in the way, as it tends to. I moved away to Norfolk, and then he moved to Dorset, into a house he designed from scratch, and then furnished in his inimitable style. Watching the funeral online today, I saw a few familiar faces, and reflected on others already departed. It was not a religious service, more a celebration of his life. Accompanied by music and many photographs shown on big screens, the sadness was balanced by happy memories for all concerned.

Mick is at rest now. The rest of us are poorer for his loss, and left with a memory of a life well-lived by a good man.

59 thoughts on “A Long-Distance Farewell

  1. I imagine that when you were 18 neither of you had any idea of how life would unfold. I am glad you got to see each other as you did mature and move into very different lines of work, always treasuring a shared youth. Glad you could participate in the send off, albeit virtually.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry for his family’s loss and yours. He sounds like a lovely man, and I’m sure he’ll be sorely missed, although, from your description, he enjoyed life his own way. All the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Billy O’Neill, Mick Kemp…
    Not exactly joyful reminders of our mortality…
    It seems that you’ve befriended some extraordinary people throughout the years, and starting from an early age. Although it’s sad to lose them, you have been very fortunate to have known them. And, of course, they were fortunate to have known you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is a fact of aging, of course. There is a poignancy to it that cannot be explained to someone still young. I saw my parents gradually lose almost everyone they had known. It’s nice you were able to attend, albeit remotely. I think it helps to be able to say goodbye rather than crossing another name out of an address book.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Funerals are always sad happenings, but its good to have the new technique, making it easier to participate. I am feeling sorry for this loss, Pete! Have a nice evening! xx Michael
    P.S.: Now i think i have the luck getting notices of your new postings to my mailbox.

    Liked by 1 person

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