This is Nicky, my brother-in-law. He passed away suddenly, a year ago, a few days after his 56th birthday. There had been a family party for his birthday, with a cake and candles for him to blow out. He loved it, just as he loved having everyone dear to him around him on his special day.
Nicky was gentle, loving, happy and easy to care for. After many years of living at home with ageing parents, he went into a local care home catering for those with mental disabilities. The residents and staff there all loved him and members of Nicky’s family visited often. It was like going to see extended family as we and the residents and staff all got to know each other.Nicky’s funeral was a celebration of his life, with happy reminisences and pop music that he loved. Many of his friends from the care home came along wearing Superman t-shirts in his honour. It was a sad yet joyous occasion.
A year on, we recently gathered together to inaugurate the bench we’ve had reconditioned by the local authority, and have added a memorial plaque commemmorating Nicky’s life. It’s in the local park, by the lake. Nicky, from childhood onward, walked in the park, fed the ducks and kicked a football around. The park was one of his favourite places. It seemed so much more appropriate to have his plaque in the park rather than in the garden of remembrance in the crematorium.
The inauguration of the bench took place on a very cold day but a group of 20 people, made up of family, care staff and residents, gathered at the bench to remember Nicky. Then we scuttled back to the warmth of one of the family’s homes to eat Milky Way bars and drink Coke (two of Nicky’s favourites) in a toast to Nicky.