I lost a very dear friend this week.

I first met Mannie when we were both soccer referees in Limerick and we stayed closest of friends for the following thirty odd years.

In many ways, he was a wonderful man but more than that, he was a wonderful friend to me. He saved me from a serious beating once which I wrote about in my book but beyond that, he was always there for me whenever I needed help or just a voice on the end of a phone.

Each time I returned to Limerick, I visited him and just saw him a few weeks ago, when he looked very frail and at death’s door. We often reminisced and when we weren’t looking backwards, he was looking forward to meeting his idol, Marylin, once he died.

Even when I wasn’t there, we spoke on the phone often and I could tell that he was get closer to death with each call. When I called this week a few times and didn’t get an answer, I feared the worst. After three or four calls, I called the nursing home yesterday and they told me that he had died on Wednesday.

Though saddened, I wasn’t shocked and in truth I was happy for him in his release and hope that Marylin braced herself … he had been fantasizing about her for donkey’s years.

Last night, his service was in Limerick and today he is cremated. For my part, I went to the lake at sunset and said goodbye to someone who takes a piece of me with him on his journey.

I took three little pics. They are at the end of this blog.

This isn’t going to be a big wordy blog but the thought that occurred to me revolved around the manner of his death. It was a pretty miserable end of life for a man who throughout was dealt a rough hand.

That I was happy for him that it was over is a sufficient statement on how awful the whole demise was.

Last night while I was there saying goodbye to him, I thought of how my own Mam and Dad were also cast in playing out their own deaths and the unfairness of it all saddened me.

Then I thought how over the past couple of years, each person that I have lost, has gone in a pretty awful way. My dear Brittany in suicide, Ashlee in a violent suicide, MJ suffocating to death … and all of these in their twenties as they left this world.

Even Joey, who was closer to my own age dying in the manner he did with liver cancer. Dreadful.

That we all have to die is not the issue. I fully understand that death is no more than a part of our life cycle and happens to us all.

The issue is how we die.

There is no fairness and many good people die bad deaths.

… just a thought.