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My first words for the New Year could not be about food. For these last 9 days I only thought about my parted old-time friend Duncan. Food did not inspire me, my fervour to cook dwindled and every time I sat down to write about food words failed me.

Oh Duncan, why were you taken away so brutally from our world? I keep picturing your smiling, radiant face and your birdlike brown eyes; hearing your voice as you glamorously shared our joys and successes and feeling your hug as you understood our disappointments. You pampered us with your gentleness and your stylish way of doing things. You treated us like precious ladies, handled us with care and made sure that we were predominantly smiling. At that tender age you were our gentleman!

Your catering work experience taught us dining etiquette, with your expertise we organised lavish dinners and cooked four-course meals to celebrate special occasions. We followed you in restaurants you were working in and stuck to your menu suggestions. I will always think of you when I mix olive oil with balsamic vinegar and dip my bread in it, or eat, very rarely now, bread with butter and Twistees.

We met you at the Junior College and lived you and your zest for life for years. Our memories are endless and with your parting we all grieved in our own ways and nostalgically, sadly, we recalled the many episodes, adventures and occasions we shared with you during the years we spent honoured by your friendship.

When the time came to chose different paths our friendship became silent and distant yet it remained harboured in our hearts. I was lucky enough to have been in touch these last couple of years and I was flattered to be invited to your wedding and to hear your jubilation as you became Dad for the first time. We exchanged birthday and festive greetings but this time just before I was going to send you my wishes for the New Year I realised that you were gone… harshly… suddenly… defensively…

And this Saturday we had to come to bid you goodbye, without a handshake, a hug or a kiss but surrounded by the odour of chrysanthemums and stunned by the heart-wringing sound of the mourning bells saluting you.

Farewell my friend… part of what I am today I owe it to you! So, regardless of where you are or where I will be, you will remain in a corner of my heart dedicated to you.

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7 Responses to “Goodbye, without a handshake”

  1. Mirana says:

    Tears are flowing down my cheeks again …Oli I love your choice of a photo and your words couldn’t better describe our Duncan

    Mirana

  2. Lindsay says:

    Touching write-up…

  3. Oh no – I am so sorry to hear about your friend. What a lovely picture and a touching tribute. Hugs to you xx

  4. What a heartwarming and heartrending tribute. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  5. Thelma says:

    Ol your words are so special – as special as Duncan was to us … you couldn’t have chosen words more suitable than these … you made me cry because we have lost a dearest friend but he will always be imprinted in our beautiful memories and hearts … we will always remember the joy and that radiant smile of his … may he now rest in peace in God’s garden … his angelic face is surely brightening heaven :)

  6. Antoinette says:

    Very touching tribute…I was and am still shocked of this tragic news! Could not beleive it when i logged in on Timesofmalta on New Years Day from Denmark, where i live… and read the heartbreaking story :-(

  7. Meeta says:

    Dearest Olivia, Sorry to hear about your loss – I wish you strength and peace in the great memories you will have of Duncan. Sending you warming hugs!

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