Some waft through your life like bits of sky cloud – here one moment, gone the next. Their impact is pleasant, perhaps important, maybe even dazzling.
Others linger over tea and a few biscuits of time, even a life experience or two. You toast a year together, perhaps another, and they are gone; their names etched delicately in the treasure chest of your heart.
But there are some whose presence mingles like starlight and something magical is brewed within the tempest teapot we call life. The halls of memory ring with laughter and poignant moments, kindness and bursts of wisdom, and of course, because how could good friends be without this, love. These are the ones who never quite leave, though time or distance might test the threads. Their well of caring is deep and whether you speak a thousand times a day or only an email now and then, they are with you (as you are with them) through the celebrations and the challenges. They are the jewels that linger.
I have been blessed with meeting many people in my life. I have also been blessed with friends. Like most, I suppose, there are but a few who become the lingering legends. They are what I lovingly call the elite circle in my life, and they are small in number.
One of them recently left to ride the skies and dance with the angels.
His name is Bill Murphy. And this is my oh-so-tiny way of honouring his presence and now his memory.
Bill is/was from the land of sun and sand, heat and light, an Australian. Like many Aussies I’ve known, he went tracing his roots back to Ireland, and like some, never quite left. We met in The Green. Bonded by a love of sun, wrapped in a mist of Ireland, sometimes wondering what the hell we were doing there, often marveling at its depth of magic, longing to feel the heat again, we became friends.
Bill had a twinkle in his eyes that made you wonder, as though he knew something delicious you might want to know. He was funny. He was wise. He had been gifted with the ability of insight, which he used gently. He was my introduction to Australia, a land I came to love, and I will always be grateful for that.
Bill was a generous man with a huge heart, and like many whose hearts are big, it was often fragile. Life challenged it like it challenges us all. As a friend, to me one of the greatest blessings in his life is that he finally found the love he had been searching for and the family he had always longed to have. Jacqueline is a jewel and they are beautiful together.
Bill travelled the slippery slopes of lymphoma for a couple of years or more. It wasn’t his first illness but it proved the toughest. There were moments when it looked like he’d come out of it (I confess I never quite ‘saw’ him leaving). He made it home for Christmas – my last email from him was of a triumphant man having been able to eat a Christmas dinner with his family!
In Australia, they call a friend – a mate. Bill Murphy was my good mate and I shall miss him.
G’day to you Bill – enjoy that light, and buckets of thanks for the moments and the memories. Love ya!