As We Age Death Is Everywhere

by Neil Bamforth

What a jolly little header eh? Death is everywhere. Well? It is. Right now, from a personal perspective, people are dropping like flies.

My wife’s chum shuffled off, my good pal and neighbor buried yesterday, another couple of people I knew quite well have ceased to be. I seem to have reached the age where lots of people I know are dying.

This is slightly alarming. Not as alarming as it would be for me if I was one of them of course, but alarming all the same.

I suppose I could adopt Noel Coward’s attitude regarding people I know dying – “Personally I’m delighted if my friends survive luncheon” he once famously said.

Like most of us, I don’t tend to dwell on the prospect of my mortality too much. The only ‘Death’ I like is the one in the Terry Pratchett ‘Discworld’ novels. He seems like quite a nice chap, albeit he’s Death.

Actually, there is another ‘Death’ I want to get to know. I forget the title of the book but saw it advertised on Facebook. Apparently, in the book, someone called Dave has a ‘near death experience’ which is, understandably, quite traumatic for him. By all accounts though, Deaths ‘near Dave experience’ was just as traumatic. Sounds like my kind of read.

Anyway. I went to the Catholic church service for my neighbor. No, I had absolutely no idea what was going on. An American pal and neighbor went with me – my wife was otherwise engaged. She tried to explain what it was all about. Nope. Not a clue.

Some chap in robes waffled on. Some other chap waved a funny little ball about with smoke coming out of it. People sang hymns. Some relative mumbled something into a microphone – a bit like those DJ’s at weddings who won’t stop talking above the music but you never have a clue what they are saying.

Then my neighbor’s coffin was taken to a graveyard and buried. I didn’t go to that. I’ve got history in graveyards.

When my dad was buried my Uncle Cyril’s artificial leg fell off into the grave. As far as I know, it’s still there. The gravedigger had gone too deep. It was the first time he’d used the new mechanical digger and got carried away. We almost ran out of rope lowering my dad down. He was still swinging around at 6 feet. It was the strain of teetering on the edge of the grave that caused Cyril’s leg to come off.

No. Me and graveyards aren’t a good mix.

I’ve decided cremation is the way to go. I’ve told my wife it’s about time we made a will and, I want to make sure everything’s in place should my cunning plan for immortality fail.

My wife seems slightly worried about my musical selection for my cremation. Can’t think why. Perfect for me.

“Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” (Bryan Ferry) followed by “Get The Fire Brigade” (The Move) finishing off with Bowie and “Ashes To Ashes”.

I’m also insistent that I should ‘go’ in one of my Oldham Athletic football shirts with a bottle of vodka in my pocket – you know, just in case there isn’t a bar on the off chance there is ‘something’ after death. I wanted a packet of cigarettes too but, given smoking is banned pretty much everywhere I suppose even eternity might have banned it.

So. Every bugger seems to be dying lately. On the plus side, none of them owed me any money.

I’ll miss Grace next door. We made each other laugh every day. I thought she was going to be there forever and she thought I was nuts. Clearly, she had a better judgment of people than I did.

If anyone is likely to shuffle off soon I would appreciate it if you could, somehow, let me know. Is there a bar? Also, say ‘Hi’ to Grace for me. Miss her already but, in all honesty, I don’t want to see her again for years and years.

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Posted by on November 8, 2018. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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24 Responses to As We Age Death Is Everywhere

  1. jess Reply

    November 8, 2018 at 10:44 am

    Fuck, I came closer to death just reading this Neil 🙂 I have seen so much death in my life it has become just a companion for me. It’s not bad, it’s not good it’s just there.

    • Neil Bamforth Reply

      November 8, 2018 at 3:15 pm

      yeah but only the nice one out of Discworld eh? 😉

  2. Michael John Scott Reply

    November 8, 2018 at 10:56 am

    What? I’m not dead! Ya gotta love Monty Python 🙂

    • jess Reply

      November 8, 2018 at 12:35 pm

      Bring out your dead, bring out your dead. Or my particular favorite or favourite as you furriners are fond of saying, he’s not dead he’s just resting pining for the fjords 😉 Jess tips non existent hat to her daddy for introducing her to the wacky world of Python and Mel Brooks from an early age.

      • Michael John Scott Reply

        November 8, 2018 at 1:58 pm

        Ah Mel Brooks! I had forgotten about Mel Brooks. Another genius…

        • Neil Bamforth Reply

          November 8, 2018 at 3:17 pm

          So true!!!

          “Werewolf? There wolf”

        • jess Reply

          November 8, 2018 at 4:04 pm

          I just watched History of the World yesterday, matter of fact and had my best friend rolling on the floor laughing when I did verbatim Madeline Kahn doing yes, no no no no no no, yes no no yes and on on also too, so many scenes from that and Blazing Saddles** and Life of brian and Holy Grail and and and I can do with both hands tied behind my back like I’m a regular witch that needs to be burned. Everyone needs Brooks and Python in their lives and I mean EVERYONE.

          **I’ve dressed as Lili von Shtupp for Halloween and everything

          • Neil Bamforth Reply

            November 8, 2018 at 5:53 pm

            You are, and have always been, a star! x

  3. Glenn R. Geist Reply

    November 8, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    Y’know, I was about to add something portentious and maybe pretentious and tinged with a bit of Latin – after all I’ve lost my two closest friends this last month. But I can’t add to the above without detracting from the above. I love this funny crew – I really do.

    • Neil Bamforth Reply

      November 8, 2018 at 3:14 pm

      Love yer back man x

    • jess Reply

      November 8, 2018 at 4:05 pm

      We love you right back, some of them even in a really manly bromantic way. I said that so you don’t get ideas they want your body or anything.

      • Neil Bamforth Reply

        November 8, 2018 at 5:55 pm

        Even medical science doesn’t want my body!!!!…Science isn’t ready for me 😉

      • Glenn Geist Reply

        November 9, 2018 at 8:40 am

        No – the Mister Universe contest isn’t answering my calls either.

  4. Holte Ender Reply

    November 8, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    I like it when my doctor says something is normal for my age, but at some point dying will be normal for my age.

    • Neil Bamforth Reply

      November 8, 2018 at 5:54 pm

      Which, given I am often considered abnormal, may be a good thing 🙂

    • jess Reply

      November 8, 2018 at 7:10 pm

      Normal is just a setting on the washing machine Holte. How are you?

  5. Holte Ender Reply

    November 8, 2018 at 8:11 pm

    Hello Jess, I doing ok, hope you are too.

  6. Joe Hagstrom Reply

    November 9, 2018 at 8:22 am

    I’ve always found comfort when in death situations in the gladness that at least that it wasn’t me.

    • jess Reply

      November 9, 2018 at 11:06 am

      Some of them. When my husband died, I wished to all I could that it had been me instead Joe because I had been there done that worn the tee shirt and did not think I would be able to breathe without him on the planet but it gets easier every day to put one foot in front of the other.

  7. Neil Bamforth Reply

    November 9, 2018 at 11:52 am


  8. Bill Formby Reply

    November 9, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    Thank you all. I just had a few minutes of smiles and chuckles at really good people having a bit of fun with a less than fun topic. 🙂 🙂

    By the way, you guys left out “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” 🙂

  9. Timmy Mahoney Reply

    November 9, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    I see dead people. And I have, lots and lots and lots of them. So has Mike and most cops I know, but after a while they’re just dead people. No big deal tha knows 🙂

  10. Neil Bamforth Reply

    November 11, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    It would be to me if I was one of em!…well it would if I knew I was dead…

  11. Neil Bamforth Reply

    November 11, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    Class !!

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