What would he have been like now?

Yesterday (28th January 2014) was the 32nd anniversary of the death of my wife’s brother.  He was 21.  The night before I’d been at their house and all three of us had gone out for a drink – this was because yours truly had managed to screw up his driving test and failed because I drove through a red light!  Well if you’re going to fail do it in style I suppose!

We went out somewhere in his new company car – he’d been promoted at his work and given a car.  He was a salesman for a stationary company travelling around to clients sorting out orders etc.

The next morning when my mother-in-law went to rouse him to get up he wouldn’t respond.  An ambulance arrived and whisked him off to A&E but he was pronounced dead on arrival.  The inquest was inconclusive at the time, he died essentially of respiratory failure due to an unknown cause.  I’ve seen stuff over the years about various forms of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome and about 20 years ago a young lad on an industrial training year working within my department at the time suffered a similar death.  It is like cot death but for young adults.  I saw some research relating it to smoking.  My brother-in-law (although I married his sister some years after his death he has always been my brother-in-law to me) had starting smoking more regularly in the weeks before his death so who knows.

My wife and her parents were obviously devastated.  There can’t be a day go by where he isn’t in my wife’s thoughts I know.

He’d have been in his mid 50s by now.  I wonder what he’d have been like?  A jovial uncle to my kids as they grew up – a Dad himself?  His job would have moved on – the company he worked for closed some years ago as Staples, Viking and others grew to dominate that market and of course now – you order on-line or by phone, who has salesman turning up to flick through the catalogues with you any more?

Just 21 – I’ve always then thought about how I’ve somewhat wasted my opportunities in life when you think he got so few.  I think he’d have been inclined to have told me a few home truths over the years – I wonder if he’d have counselled his little sister to “kick the sod out” in my drinking days.  He possibly would have he could be a blunt character.

RIP Roger – always missed by your family

About furtheron

Music and guitar obsessive who is a recovering alcoholic to boot
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7 Responses to What would he have been like now?

  1. looby says:

    Yes but you’re only 50–there are whole vistas of opportunities to a man of that age. You’re number 1 in the (a) charts for a start!

  2. That’s how I want to go, too. Suddenly in my sleep. But not so damn soon.

    My brother failed his driver’s test because he hit a cat. I’m not joking.

  3. fern says:

    He is looking down (if you believe in such things) and very proud of what you have accomplished and who you are now. You are a better husband than you were but still the same person he enjoyed being with back then. That, my friend, is the bigger picture.

    My 16 year old took his learner’s permit yesterday and one of the questions was, “What do you do when you see a person with a cane that is red on the end?” My son chose “stop abruptly” instead of “proceed with caution.” He passed anyway because you only had to get 18 out of the 25 correct. He got 18. 🙂

  4. Touching post, Graham. I love that you still think of him as your brother-in-law even though he wasn’t around for the ceremony. I know that he would have been very proud of you, and for the the Furtheron clan. You and his sis have gone through a lot, but look at where you are now. A wonderful dad, hubby and role model to those who are new to this whole sober thing. And a whizz bang guitar (and mandoline!) player. Chart worthy 🙂

    it’s sad that his life got taken so early, but he’s still around…that’s beautiful.

    Thank you for this, Graham.

  5. Elsie says:

    I often wonder what my first husband would be like now. He died when he was 28. It’s sad, but you’re right, it can be beautiful too.

  6. sherryd32148 says:


    I love that he’s your brother in law always.


  7. lifecorked says:

    Beautiful tribute. Sounds like a great guy. Always hard to make sense of why some have to go so early. Thanks for sharing your memories.

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