Musings about the untimely death of a good guy

A guy I knew and liked died last week. He was 66. He drowned. He was a fisherman. Fisherman equals drowning is an equation that is much too common on this coast – or any fishing coast for that matter. The medium in which you toil for a crust may ultimately take your life. I’ve known a number of fishermen in my life, and I’ve known a few that have drowned, or died of hypothermia, or some other related environmental onslaught.

It’s never an easy thing to hear of this.

There is a bit of a miracle in this story in that his life-partner and fellow fisher survived the ‘event’ that took place off the remote Haida Gwai (Queen Charlotte Islands) on the north coast of British Columbia. Going ashore in a skiff in relatively heavy seas, the skiff swamped. My friend sank beneath the waves. His partner said huddled on a remote and freezing beach for 6 days until she was rescued by the Coast Guard in a tale of serendipity that is a bit miraculous in its own right. I am happy for her survival and terribly sad for her loss.

Anyway, my friend who died was a good guy; a genuine guy; a salt-of-the-earth kind of guy, if you will and to unavoidably lapse into cliché. Rough-hewn, honest, realistic and sometimes highly amusing as he chatted about the ironies of his life. Difficult to understand how he might have addressed his final irony.

And then he died, doing the job he ‘did’. I don’t know if he loved it. I never discussed that with him. But, that is what he did. Fishermen are like that. Regardless of the odds facing them in their task, they do what they do and rarely conceive of doing anything else. And the sea takes its toll. They all know that.

Since his untimely demise comments have come in from people that knew that man, and invariably “good guy” comes to the fore. This is one of those aspects of life that both perplexes and vexes me. I know people that are flaming shitheels but who never seem to be taken out. I am invariably nonplused when a good person is.

But, the universe is a morass of imponderables and there is no word in any holy or philosophical tome that encompasses the idea of fairness. For, it never is fair and there isn’t a thing we can do about it other than ‘accept’ – I guess.

Even when we don’t want to.

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9 responses to “Musings about the untimely death of a good guy

  1. This has been a sad event, and I’m sorry that you’ve lost your friend. Do something kind for yourself today — life is too fleeting to postpone.

  2. Nice comments, Kim. I appreciate them. And as you well know, life is too fleeting to postpone.

  3. I am sorry for your loss of a good friend. Kim is right…I do hope his partner has support and comfort after such an ordeal.

  4. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I’d like to think that he died doing what he most loved to do. Oddly, drowning is a bout the only phobia I don’t have.

  5. Very sorry for your loss. I guess we’d all like to go out of this world doing something we love

  6. So sorry to hear about your friend. Bad as it is, my heart goes out to his partner, stuck on that beach for six days, alone, knowing he had drowned… It must have been hell.

  7. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend and it sounds like a miracle that his partner survived.

    A couple of years ago a fisherman I knew also died at sea. He was not even 20. Out in a storm, his leg got caught in a rope and he was swept off the deck and drowned. He was not wearing a lifejacket. Apparently they dont. It was a tragic loss of a life unlived and a very good young man.

    Having said that, I watched a programme by Terry Pratchett this evening where I watched a man commit suicide at Dignitas. Peter was an extremely wealthy man who lacked for nothing but he had Motor Neurone Disease and had decided to go whilst he could still hold the glass that would contain his death. He and his wife were incredibly civilised and so brave.

    We also watched Andrew, a young man of 42 with MS, take the decision to do the same thing. They both seemed really good guys who had been struck down by incurable diseases.

    It was extraordinarily moving and made even worse by the fact that Terry has Alzheimers and is considering the same option. His problem is that he will need to take the lethal dose before he reaches the point where he is not of sound enough mind to be able to fulfil the strict criteria of being mentally competent to face the decision.

    For all these gentle people, choosing death is a better option than continuing down what Andrew described as an alley that becomes continually more narrow with no exits on either side.

    I guess the moral for all of us is to take life with both hands and live it because we never know when it will be taken away xx

    • Those were very well-considered and thoughtful comments, Joanna. But, I would expect nothing less from a person as sensitive to all nuances of life as are you. You certainly gave me much room for thought.

      A few weeks ago I ran into my 2nd wife and she has MS. Even had it back when we were together. She kept it relatively secret at the time and few people knew about it. Then the only real manifestations were bouts of temporary numbness in a limb, fatigue and wet knickers once in a while. When last I saw her she was terribly encumbered by it. Was using a walker and had lost virtually all dexterity. She had aged to years older than her actual age which had to be very difficult for her as she was a proud and very fine looking woman when we were together.Despite my anger with her at various times near the end, I certainly wished no such thing for her, and it broke my heart to see her in the state she was in.

      Life has its perversities and challenges and we who are able should bless every healthy moment.

      It’s nice to be connected with you. You are a wise and beautiful woman.

      Ian

  8. Aw, MrW, Thank you xx

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