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Les Cassidy | Golfer / Lawn Bowler / Retired Film Preservationist

Dear Tina,

I want to tell you about Roger who you met when visiting me in Canada.

Roger became a very good friend when I moved there, after retiring. Both of us were retired but other than that had different backgrounds. Both of us had a good sense of humour and enjoyed each others company. It seemed he knew everyone while I hardly knew anyone. The people he knew ranged from high ranking politicians, people in office, to ordinary folk.

Over the last four or five years of his life I introduced him to golf. He was reluctant at first but eventually he became a reasonable golfer and was outdriving me by 50 metres and outplaying me in all aspects of the game. We played with several other people each week. Some of them friends he had known for many years.

Being the same age we suffered the same ageing problems and shared our thoughts regularly, often with a humorous view.

One day he came for coffee and announced he had been diagnosed with polyps in the throat and he would have to have an operation.

I am not sure what he was thinking at the time but our conversations were such that it would be like going to the dentist and having his polyps removed and all would be well. Needless to say his condition was worse than first thought and it became apparent he had stomach cancer and not long to live.

As Winter approached golf was reduced to an indoor simulator and hands of cribbage while his wife went shopping.

As things got worse, I continued my daily visits, or as required. At first he sat in a lazy boy chair before gradually being placed in a make shift bed in his lounge. His weight fell away. His face became gaunt. He could not swallow. He did not look the same but I knew he was the same person.

Before he got too bad, we would sit and chat. Often I would stay silent and he would tell me about his teen years, his first car and his girlfriends, his first house, his army service and the people he met.

No one else ever came other than his family. None of his friends.

One day, I was asked to come around for a last visit. Some of his siblings, wife and children were there. I smiled with Roger, held his hand and suggested he putted straight. Useless words. Friends he had known for many years had not been to see him but I can’t blame them. We all grieve differently.

Later I asked a friend why he had not been to see Roger. His eyes welled up and he replied he couldn’t.

Good bye my dear friend. The present is a space without you. The past is crammed full of your presence.

Leslie A. Cassidy

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