Death in the Family

Harper Lee died this week, as the world knows. So too did Umberto Eco. Unnoticed by the media, the cognoscenti, and the society pages, but mourned by those who knew and loved him, my ex brother-in-law Neville passed away too – modestly, as he had lived, without fuss and palaver. As good and decent a man as you could hope to find, kind to a fault, without a mean bone in his body. You can’t do much better than that.

The last time I saw Neville would have been at my daughter Kathy’s wedding, half-a-dozen years ago. My divorce from his wife’s younger sister was in the final throes of completion, after a long and painful struggle, and I hadn’t seen any of her side of the family for several years. Yet all of them – Neville included – greeted me with nothing but kindness and compassion, a gift for which I will always be thankful.

Divorce may have taken us our different ways, but that doesn’t mean you stop loving the people you love.

Go in peace, Neville. My thoughts are with you and your family.