“............as a time will come - and the wisest of us knows not how soon - when all distinctions save those of goodness and virtue, shall cease, and death, the great leveller of all human greatness, shall reduce us to the same state.
Thus in the simple, beautiful masonic eloquence in our ritual we all know, we have the theme of the thoughts in my family during the past week. It was shared by so many of my masonic brethren. It was of course, the passing to the Grand Lodge Above of much loved brother W Bro Kenneth Norman Nice, Past Grand Standard Bearer. Ken married Marie, now deceased, in 1957: and many of my readers knew her. Marie was my dear wife Yvonne’s mother. Ken was like a blood brother to me from the time I met him four years earlier so you will appreciate that I knew him for a long time. Yvonne and I married in the same year. I am sure that all will agree that Ken had and practised the highest standards of goodness and virtue and that is the way we will all remember him.
The death of a loved one served as a great reality check. It should focus one’s mind to the things that really matter. It should remind us all of our very fragile mortality. There is no time for any vain and selfish thoughts, no time for heady allusion about our own importance and “...give up every selfish propensity which might injure others”, particularly those close to you. It is too late to wish that you had known someone a little better, that you had handled an issue with him or her a little in a different way or you had shared more time with them – they will remain in your thoughts but you cannot reach them. Bereavement is much less painful if there is nothing left undone when a loved one dies.
The death of a loved one is also a time to review your own journey through life. It has reminded me that there are endless things that I must do to make it easier for those who remain, particularly those who will care for my wife if I predecease her and deal with my estate. I need to review my Will. I need to get all my administration and documents in order so they can be found easily. I need to de-clutter in a physical sense and withdraw from activities that detract from the essential tasks that lay before me. I need to resolve any unfortunate issues that I may have had with others.
We do not know when the time will come but we can be put on our guard for the sake of our loved ones if for no other reason by maintaining a healthy life style and seek good medical attention. There is no role for a GP who thinks in his or her heart that you are too old to bother treating. Not everyone will experience angina as a warning of a heart attack. However, there are tests that can be administered to determine your condition and perhaps result in some essential care. The last thing that I want to happen to me is to become an invalid due to my own neglect and become a burden to others.
I would like to thank on behalf of my family the many freemasons and their families that attended Ken’s funeral service and their help and support during this time. I would especially like to thank WBro Andy McKay for his splendid conduct of the masonic segment of service.
There is a memorial article to our Brother Ken here