There was an interesting recent newspaper piece where a minister of religion urged us to call people who have died as dead, and not passed, passed on or passed over. I am with him. People die and become dead. Maybe in their lives they have passed a kidney stone but just passed? So weird. It is a softening word but really, is it needed? Isn't it better to say someone has died and confront the reality? Express death how ever you want. I am not telling you what to do, just how I see it.
R worked with Albert in the 1970s. I began working with Albert in the 1980s and continued to work with him until I chose retirement in 2019 and he was forced to retirement the same year when he was diagnosed with dementia.
While still working, he would plaintively wail, what will I do with myself if I retire. (He could just have become a lazy and spoilt self indulgent bastard like me).
Albert had two sons and a daughter. I don't known the daughter but his youngest son, slim as rake, worked in our local bank in the 90s. His older son was a muso and a drug user. Taking after his mother, his skin was pale and he was very nice looking with very long tied back hair. Smoking hot, I would say. Now the bank son is fat and old, and the older son, short curly grey haired but still handsome as an older man.
Albert was a hard worker and earned lots of money and was very generous with money. But his last few years were spent in public housing and he was kicked out of the matrimonial bed to the couch by his wife who he would lecture about her gambling, drinking and smoking. His wife was also Indian but very white looking.
His two sisters live in England and Albert was a passionate Tottenham Hotspurs supporter. He always intimated he came to Australia from England, without ever saying so but the funeral online as we watched told the truth.
Albert grew up in Park Circus in Calcutta, a posh area for Anglo Indians. I've worked with many Anglo Indians who grew up in Park Circus. I expect he was part educated by Catholics before his parents moved to Perth when he was young and then Australian educated. He moved to Melbourne on his own in the 1970s and built his life.
He was Catholic and attended St Francis church in the city, but in more recent years he and some of his family became born again Christians. Being born again did not change Albert's interaction with us.
There is a YT clip of Albert being interviewed by the great nephew of our friend, Brighton Antique Dealer. Albert was born in 1942 but in the interview he said without the blink of an eye, 1946.
Early this year we saw Albert when we were brunching in Prahran Square. His normally perfectly groomed and black dyed hair was long and straggly and the colour was growing out. I am looking for a barber to cut my hair, he told us. I ran into him two weeks later in Balaclava and he told me the same story of not being able to find a barber.
I am awaiting a response from a former workmate as to why he died but gee we will miss running into Albert when we are our and about. He would so often catch us in Myer while we were clothes shopping. This was Albert at the age of 77 when he retired.
I also learnt this day that the most marvellous ABC 3LO, now ABC Melbourne broadcaster Mary Adams died. She came to Australia from Palmerston North in New Zealand and was one of the last of ABC's broadcasters with a posh and sublimely mellow voice. Her diction was perfect and she rarely made a mistake.