One side effect of living is some of those around us cease doing so. They die, we mourn. We live, others die. One day, some day, it’ll be our turn, but not yet. We mourn those gone. These pages remember those I mourn.

image: parc

My grandad, who lived into his early 90s, complained the only time he saw his family was at their funerals. I’m not quite there yet, but the frequency of funerals is increasing.


Very important for each of us, but very different for each of us, are our older generations. They live before us, they die before us, they make our lives, we make our children’s lives.

My father died in the 1960s, in his early 40s. His loss had a severe impact on me, unsurprisingly given I was six. I celebrate him by posting his photography.

My mother died thirty years ago, in her early 60s. For most of my childhood, she was a single mother bringing up three kids, aided by her father. I’ve preserved her memory in my and my father’s photos.

Unsurprisingly, my family’s older generations, are long gone, except for my father’s younger sister, now in her mid 90s. I’m not mawkish enough to deliberately photo her, or anyone else, although I do understand the posterity argument. I feel there would be something about that, that would be both selfish and insulting.

My mother’s father, grandad, lost an eye as a child soldier at the Somme. He still surprises me. His wife, my grandmother, died when I was a toddler; I have nothing of her.

My father’s mother, who lost brothers in the first world war, lived into her late 90s. Her husband, too, died before my father. He made family photo albums.

My second cousin, Paul Sawford, bought up in the same village as me, died in his early 30s, killed in an accident on the M25. He left a widow and a toddler.

My siblings, all my cousins, and those remaining second cousins I know of, are living their lives, but for my oldest cousin’s husband, who died last year. He was a gloriously grumpy tory.


Any pet owner mourns their loss more frequency than people. These family members live their entire lives while we’re still children.

But, despite life’s nature, or because of it, pets are utterly worth the company, the education, they give. I can think of no good reason, beyond the rare medical, for parents to have no pets when raising children.


I have no school photos. I began photographing as a student, unaware I was following my father and his father.

Of the three poly students with whom I kept in touch, two were killed, indirectly, by a combination of alcohol and covid: Nigel Gordon and Kathy Smith.


I was an active member of the Young Liberals, and have kept in touch, mostly via faceboot, with many of that time. Mike Harskin was a brilliant press guy, who died in his 20s from an aneurysm. Sue Ashton, John Hein, David Senior, Nikki Thomson, too many, are searing losses. That so many died young feels odd.


Strangers have had an impact on my life, so much so that I mourn their passing. In particular, I regret the loss of Iain Banks and Karlheinz Stockhausen. They’ll both be remembered as long as history itself.


All this leaves me feeling down, unsurprisingly. It might be time to give Gorecki’s third another listen, the Dawn Upshaw version. That piece, that performance, truly helped me mourn the death of my mother.