Mark Said writes:
The way things happen, we don’t know whose name God will call next. We don’t know when any of us will be called home. It’s best for us to show our love and appreciation to each other while we can; while we are still alive.
Too many times we neglect to do so and live to regret it. So many times funerals are where all the love and appreciation are expressed. Many people don’t know how much they meant to us until they’re dead. We don’t always tell the people we appreciate how much they mean to us until it’s too late.
In briefly remembering and appreciating my colleague’s transit through this earth, cut short by his demise after bearing a long illness with great fortitude, I wish to resurrect him for posterity’s sake.
At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. It is the same with Simon. His particular own brand of humour, University pranks, joviality, visionary qualities and all-roundness, I realise today, all lighted a flame within me and within his close circle of friends.
Even after graduation, I regularly came in contact with him. We used to discuss legal developments, sometimes particular tricky cases which he or I happened to be dealing with, drawing on our reciprocal knowledge and expertise. We did not lack those rare moments where we even taunted each other. I remember, once, he told me that I was a good egg even though he thought me to be slightly cracked! But that is what a true friend stands for.
As individuals, we will be judged in our lives by the totality of our actions. Not one thing will stand out. And I think that is how Simon will get judged by his colleagues and that is how he will get judged by the good Lord.
The moment your colleague is leaving brings along a combined feeling of joy and distress. Joy because he is leaving for betterment and a better life elsewhere in the manner he practised his faith and distress because you will be missing all the golden moments spent with him.
The last time I casually came across him before his passing away was a few months ago, somewhere in the middle of Republic Street, Valletta. I had known about his ailment and we shared some thoughts about his condition. Far from despair, he was quite good-spirited. Indeed, he showed fortitude and perseverance in his sufferings.
It was the last time we talked but the first time he ever confided in me his unparalleled love for his wife, children and immediate family members. He treasured his family life and, although he was somewhat conscious and aware that the Good Lord might call him earlier than thought, he left me with this deep thought and lesson, which left a very deep, ever-lasting impact on my outlook towards life.
‘’Every day,’’ he humbly told me, “you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet, there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”
Farewell, Simon, till we meet again. You will continue to live in the hearts of your wife, children, father and immediate family members and in the everlasting memory of your colleagues and friends.
I, for sure, will never forget you!