I got an email late last night, which I reproduce, complete with the email address (now redacted):
it’s Aimee, Kevin’s daughter.
Kevin passed away this morning with my sister and myself at his bedside. The sun was shining and the light in the room was beautiful, all was peaceful.
Either my sister Maria or myself will be in contact about the celebration of his life in the form of a few drinks. I would appreciate it if you could pass this on to your gang and let them know you are all very welcome to contact me and I can’t wait to meet you all.
It’s less than three weeks since me and Bucko and Twenty met up with Nisakiman at the White Hart at Ashton Keynes, to smoke and drink and talk.
I didn’t say so at the time, but the moment that I set eyes on him that day, I thought he was a dying man. It doesn’t show in the photos, but there was a greyness about his face, and the skin on his head had shrunk into tiny wrinkles. I really wouldn’t have been surprised to have got a phone call the next day to say that he’d gone.
We smoked and drank and talked like old friends that day, although none of us had met person to person, face to face, except as kindred spirits in the Smoky Drinky Bar. And we talked and we laughed. And he laughed too. And he knocked back several pints of beer over the three hours or more we spent together.
He wrote in the comments here the next day:
Yes, kindred spirits indeed. A very disparate group, and one meeting in the flesh for the first time.
And yet that wasn’t the way it was. It was like we were old friends who had sat talking over a pint innumerable times before. There wasn’t any awkwardness. No searching for something to say. No drying up of conversation. Just a very natural, easy situation. Frank mentioned that I was there for more than three hours, but I would happily have spent another couple of hours chewing the fat with such excellent company.
I was so pleased that the guys made such an effort, to come all the way they did just to see me. A humbling experience, and one which I’ll never forget.
It raised my spirits massively. Thank you Peter, Bucko and Frank. I cannot adequately describe how much that visit meant to me.
And thank you also to all the supportive comments that have been left here on Frank’s blog. I read and appreciate them all.
As we parted that day, and he was standing by the car that had come to take him away, I walked back to him and put an arm around him, and him around me.
I guess he never made it back to Greece. He’d been planning to go back to his wife and home in Greece, to settle his affairs, and then maybe move on to Thailand and his wife’s family there.
It had all been very quick, as he wrote in an email to me in early April:
Yes, it was all a bit sudden. My youngest daughter came to visit me in Patras, took one look at me and booked me a ticket to UK, where my other daughter picked me up and took me to the doctor next day. Following day I was here in hospital, being pumped full of drugs. Too much calcium in the blood, could be cancer. Had a CT scan yesterday, should get the results today. I’ve been on another planet with all the shit they’ve been giving me, only just today checked my email.
Thanks for your concern. I’ll keep you posted. Maybe try to drop in SDB soon.
When we talked in the White Hart, he said that back in Greece he’d not been feeling very well, and had been finding it difficult to lift heavy equipment in his carpenter’s workshop in Patras. But within days of arriving back in England he was in an impersonal, faceless hospital as a terminal cancer patient, given jarfuls of tablets, handed a death sentence, and asked if he wanted to be resuscitated.
I can’t help but think he’d still be alive today, if he’d just stayed at home in Greece, tinkering in his workshop, not feeling too well, and continuing to ignore his wife’s pleas to see a doctor.
But who knows?