Thursday, 8 January 2009

Barry

When brother in law Ritchie asked if we'd mind hosting his sister Breda and husband Barry for a couple of days on their way through Dubai to Ireland and the UK, we readily agreed. Although we didn't know them, any friend of Ritchie's is etc. etc.

The reason they were travelling is so that Barry could say goodbye to everyone, because he was suffering, and had suffered for the past ten years, from cancer.

Now, I'm not very good with that kind of stuff and I can't say that I was looking forward to their visit. As it got closer, I convinced myself that we were in for a couple of days of awful sadness.

And then we picked the two of them up at the airport. Barry started his trip by telling me he'd just carried 40 days' supply of morphine through UAE Customs and nobody had batted an eyelid!!! Given the state of DJ shoe soles around here, I thought that was bloody funny.

I didn't stop laughing, or smiling, for the next 72 hours. Not only were our visitors delightful company, Barry was nothing short of inspirational. Although he'd get the odd twinge of pain in his back and needed to take enzymes to aid his digestion, he was more on top of a disease so chronic that an x-ray of his skeleton showed the cancer was so widespread it was like 'someone had thrown a handful of sticky rice grains at it' than I could ever have imagined. He'd been fighting it for ten years and was still beating it back.

A silver-haired charmer, Barry's face was lined but I could never work out whether they were laughter or pain lines. And it didn't help that he was either laughing or smiling most of the time. You could see the Lothario who swept Breda off her feet all those years ago, and who was still sweeping her off her feet. Full of inquisitiveness, particularly about the many aspects of life in the Emirates, which tickled him enormously, Barry took in Hatta and Mahatta alike with a twinkling, blue-eyed curiosity. His sheer bravery, self-effacing manner and his charm lit up our lives for 72 hours. We were talking about flying to Australia this Easter to go see the two of them.

Yeah, you're right, you do know where this is going.

He died half an hour ago, eight months after saying goodbye.

14 comments:

rosh said...

Thoughts and prayers, Mr McNabb. May his rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like he really lived life to the full and made the most of his situation and really enjoyed his remaining time...RIP

Abu Dhabi Blogger said...

Sounds like an inspirational person. May he rest in peace.

Mars said...

RIP

Seabee said...

I'm in awe of people like Barry.

rose in Dubai said...

I'm so sorry. I had the same thing with my friend who made it through his last family Christmas and died on Boxing Day.

This helps me.

You can….

You can shed tears that he is gone
or you can smile because he lived;
you can close your eyes and pray that he will come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see him
or you can be full of the love that you shared;
you can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him and only that he is gone
or you can cherish his memory and let it live on;
you can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back,
or you can do what he would want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

Elle said...

Just shows how people come into our lives for a reason. May he RIP.

the real nick said...

Sorry to hear of your loss. Sounds like he set a good example of how to spend one's last few weeks.

halfmanhalfbeer said...

Bollox. Very sorry to hear the news.

It always seems to get the good ones.

HMHB

o0UmmHasan0o said...

I am sorry to hear your sad news, you wrote a very beautiful account of him... and you showed compassion, i am sure he would been pleased to read it....

moryarti said...

may his soul rest in peace...

Qatar Cat said...

RIP...

Jayne said...

Bugger! He sounded like such a great bloke. He has my admiration.

Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! said...

oh my god. that is so sad.

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