Last few days 

Two days off ending my working career. Such a mixture of feelings, the strongest being happiness. A sense of anticipation, a longing just for more time to be, to love, to connect, to think, to move, to lead that bit of life that’s squeezed usually into weekends, short evenings and holidays.

40 years working feels enough. I can look back with pride at what I achieved with and for people in my roles over the years. I came, made a difference, learned always,  worked with some great people and I left. My work took me to amazing places  – Morocco, Canada, New York, New Zealand, China for 18 months, Australia, France, Germany, Sweden, Spain…

Ending my working career back in social care in London was the right thing. A place of such heart and people doing inspiring things every day. I know I have made a huge positive difference. Over the last few weeks since the announcement emails from and chats with people who’ve told me what I meant to them and how I made a difference for them. So very moving. Humbling. And in return this place of great people, commitment, values, innovation gave me a lovely last 3.5 experience of work, lots of satisfaction, fun, appreciation. 

So two more days, more farewells, meetings and contribution. I will be very sad to leave and at the same time absolutely ready to go. It’s good to feel sad about leaving. They’ve meant a lot to me and me to them. That matters.

And then from Wednesday the next phase of my life starts. I’m ready. 

For Brian 

A long term friend of John’s, some thirty years. Not always easy to be your friend it seems. Over the years the circle of people around you got smaller and smaller as those you had offended, cut off or had been just hard to be around, fell away. A mobile phone with only two numbers on it, John’s being one.

A feisty youth, a big drinker, often getting into fights, a tall tale teller but a man that so many knew and liked.  Big drinking led to a life that was all about the next drink. A social drinker became a solitary drinker. Bottles of vodka of an evening, drunk alone. Pints for breakfast. Hospital admissions latterly where you were dried out enough to discharge yourself and start again with a vengeance. Alcohol related dementia. Lost faculties. Soiled clothes. The fastidious you replaced by a soiled old guy banned from pubs because of the stench.

For all his friendship along the way John couldn’t stop your relentless path to self destruction. He did what he could to keep being by your side when you needed money or help. Without question they would be given.

You died last night on your sofa at home, bedraggled, malnourished, unable even to drink any more. A sad life. And you leave behind a grieving friend who wishes he could have done more. But he couldn’t.

Hoping you find peace now Brian.