I wrote this post on Saturday. Most of you will remember it.
I received many kind comments, and my blogging friends and followers were, as always, very sympathetic.
Later that day, I got the news that my dear friend had died late that afternoon. So I thought it appropriate to update everyone with that.
I refuse to let Brian be a statistic, so here is something about his life, and the kind of man he was.
Troubled in his teens by the bone-wasting disease, Osteomyelitis, he was determined not to let the constant medical treatment get him down. He turned to music instead, with a voice to rival the Blues singers of the past, and even equal to the great Howlin’ Wolf. I was 17 years old when I met him, and he was singing at the front of a band, performing in a school hall in the London suburbs.
We were soon firm friends, and that friendship lasted for 51 years. Even though he has died, we are still friends, and always will be.
He later married, and I was the best man at the wedding. He and his wife had a daughter who he loved so dearly, becoming more than a father to her, a friend as well.
Over the decades, we lived together in a shared house, and spent a huge amount of time in each other’s company. We played Monopoly with an intensity usually reserved for Chess masters, and constantly disagreed on many things, especially politics. We shared holidays together, and saw each other through relationship and marriage break-ups, bad times and good times.
Many years later, decades of pain klling drugs caused his kidneys to fail. Brian had to go onto a dialysis regime until a transplant became available and he underwent the operation. Following that, he spent the rest of his days taking a daily cocktail of tablets, and having to attend hospital constantly. He still managed to play golf whenever he could, and once he retired, he rented a flat next to the golf club car park. He also continued to sing and perform with Blues bands around London and Kent.
Here he is five years ago, at his last ever gig. He is the man in the hat, singing and playing a harmonica. The pretty fair-haired girl at the front of the audience is his daughter.
He worked as a copy editor and proof reader, where his obsession with correct grammar and punctuation served him well. When I started this blog, he was one of my earliest and most loyal supporters, though he never failed to correct errors I made.
Brian was a good man, a loving father, and a true friend.
He will never be just a number.