And he added a poem by Adrian Mitchell which I hadn't seen before, a response to Philip Larkin's famous but uselessly cynical "This Be The Verse":
They tuck you up, your Mum and Dad
They read you Peter Rabbit, too.
They give you all the treats they had
And add some extra, just for you.
They were tucked up when they were small,
(Pink perfume, blue tobacco-smoke),
By those whose kiss healed any fall,
Whose laughter doubled any joke.
Man hands on happiness to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
So love your parents all you can
And have some cheerful kids yourself.
I made the mistake of reading this mail at work. A mistake, as my office was not the ideal place to revisit some of the feelings around my own parents' deaths, or to become acutely aware of the upwelling sadness I can feel as my children grow daily more independent.
Then even more recently I heard that two even older friends from my school days are to become grandparents. Impossible. Amusing, even. And I'm thinking: I'm not ready for any of this, I never was, and no-one ever is. And, just as you're starting to get the hang of it, it's all over.
Before you cross the street,
Take my hand,
Life is what happens to you
While you're busy making other plans.
John Lennon, Beautiful Boy
"Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup..."