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Hard to believe that 10 years have already passed since Richard took the brave decision to leave this world! After the initial shock and emotional trauma, there followed a difficult period in which I often blamed myself for not spending more time with him and supporting him more than I did. Fortunately these feelings diminished over time and, I realise, are not untypical of anyone grieving for a close relative.
Naturally there was a lot of administrative matters to deal with and I had to liaise closely with Richard's solicitor in sorting out his complicated financial affairs and also to inform those acquaintances whom I had inadvertently omitted in the immediate aftermath of his death. This took a lot of my time but, having retired from full-time work 2 years earlier, I was fortunately able to spend the necessary time and brought the process to a close about a year after his death, having typed some 70 letters.
Since that time I have
maintained occasional contact by eMail and letter with a few of Richard's
friends, some of whom go all the way back to his school and university
Until the latter stage of his life Richard kept a meticulous record of his daily activities, no matter how mundane (in 5-year diaries). This record extends from 01.01.62 to 19.09.00. (My own diaries start on the same day, since Dad bought us both diaries for Christmas.) Over the last 10 years I have often consulted Richard's diaries to check specific facts or events on a particular day, since his record was always more comprehensive than my own diary, his writing being much smaller and neater! Invariably once I open a diary, I spend more time reading it than I had intended and find myself going through it day by day, fascinated by the detail he recorded. Even in the latter stages of his life there is no note of self-pity or despair, although references to the difficulties and frustrations of daily life are more common. In the last few years he frequently noted that he was tired or had to rest on the bed several times a day or that his legs and hands weren't functioning as he wanted - all typical symptoms of the degenerative and awful illness he had. I would like to read all his diaries from start to end but it would probably take me the rest of my life to do so!
Ten years on and I still find myself thinking about Richard quite often, reminiscing about the good times spent together in our youth, then our train-spotting day trips and longer UK tours, once Richard had bought his first car at 21. We undertook some rather ambitious journeys, even by today's standards, but by then I was able to share the driving.
I don't get as emotional as I did in the early years but I often miss Richard and wish things had turned out differently. It would be great if he were still coming to spend a few days with Cheryl and me, as he used to do, and which he enjoyed so much in the last few years when holidays elsewhere became difficult or impractical. I'm sure that he would have been impressed by the IT and Web Design skills which I have developed over the years since his death, given that this was not the direction I followed in my professional career.
Richard was a great brother, a gentleman and a lovely guy, as all who knew him well must agree. If anyone wishes to submit their own comments about him, possibly for publishing on this site, please use the Comments/Tributes Form. Thank you for visiting the Website.