Letting the light in on death: love, memory and loss


Twenty years ago today at 10.21pm my partner of almost 10 years died. He was 37 and I was 34. It was a shattering moment. But it wasn’t a shock. I can’t begin to understand what it must be like to be bereaved in sudden and shocking circumstances like the relatives of those murdered in […]
On the death of a friend in shot gun alley


On Monday I lost a good friend in shot gun alley. I’m told that’s a term for our 50s. The idea is that if you make it through the random fire of premature death you’ll probably live to a ripe old age. I’ve no idea of the veracity of the claim. But on hearing of […]
Gordon Aikman taught us about death as well as life


I didn’t know Gordon Aikman. But the news of his death this morning was terribly sad nonetheless. His beautiful New Year message on Twitter, ‘Oh hi 2017, I didn’t expect to see you’, was a shaft of light and hope in the bleak midwinter.
Death doesn’t become us, so don’t wait


Returning from a few days away this week, I learnt of the death of an old friend from my trade union days. The revelation came via the dead hand of Facebook. A timely reminder that for all its faux intimacy, social media is brutally impersonal. It connects us for sure, but in ways we have […]
Some thoughts on living with dying – and remembering


In July 1995, my partner of 10 years, Lawrence, left me. He’d been leaving for a while. First his body and then, in the last few months, his mind. Not a sudden parting, more an ebbing away. Like a lingering tide, occasionally he would threaten to come back. But the pull was unstoppable. He had […]
What’s left undone — Remembering Olivia McLeod


Our journey together scarcely left base camp. But the tent pegs in the ground were already secure. In the midst of an ending, we forged a new bond. Green shoots burgeoned. Abundant with hope, possibility. Stuff to talk about, things to do. Such was the thrill of my short friendship with Olivia McLeod. Facing death, […]
Supernova – love, death and the sound of silence


Harry Macqueen's new film Supernova portrays the love between two middle-aged gay men. But it is not about sexuality. The word gay is never uttered. When I was asked to review the film for BBC Radio Scotland, I knew little about it except that it starred Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci as a gay couple. I had to […]
And then there was one


‘There is a time for the evening under starlight, A time for the evening under lamplight (The evening with the photograph album). Love is most nearly itself When here and now cease to matter.’ T.S. Eliot, East Coker, Four Quartets And then there was one. Ever since I heard you had left us last week, […]
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