When Andrew died, the Earth rumbled; for me.
Calling from England, Hugh’s mother often forgets the time difference, and that morning she had woken us up at about five o’clock. My husband silenced the phones and we tried to go back to sleep.
Tossing and turning for a while I felt disturbed by the feeling that someone was trying to reach me, I want to sleep, I remember thinking.
It seemed that as soon as I dozed off, one of our cell phones rang.
“What on earth is going on this morning,” I wondered jumping out of the bed and rushing to the kitchen.
It was Hugh’s cell phone and he got to it before me. Standing in front of my husband I could hear my daughter’s voice through the speaker, she seemed to be crying.
“What is it? What is it?” my husband kept asking. “Is Andrew alright? What? Florentina what is it?”
“Florentina what’s the matter?” I shouted snatching the phone from Hugh.
“Andrew… Andrew,” she sobbed.
“Florentina… is Andrew alive?” I demanded, feeling the hair on my head standing up.
“No…” she sobbed.
“What do you mean; no?” I asked unable to comprehend. “How is he? What happened” I pressed on.
“I don’t know. Nick is here, they found him in the library, his heart had stopped.”
Everything started spinning, my head, my thoughts, my breath, my insides. Yet when our friends arrived and we got into the cars to drive to the Hospital, everything, everywhere looked normal.
The friend driving us had to stop at a gas station to fill up the car. Sitting in the back, I gazed outside and noticed that other people where filling their cars, cup of coffee in hand, or cell phone, they went about as if nothing had happened. Like water in a river that never stops flowing, so the world, unbroken, continued working. Not mine though, my world was shattered. But I knew that for everyone else, even for our closest friends, even for our families, upset and saddened though they were, their lives would pretty quickly go back to normal.
I am thinking about it all this morning, because the brother of one of my dearest friends was found dead at his home in England yesterday. Keith Alexander, famous soccer player and then manager, died of a brain aneurysm.
Shaken and saddened by my friend’s loss, all day yesterday I couldn’t help notice that all around me life went on as normal, while Nova’s and that of her family had been shattered.
The first hint I had that something had happened to Keith, was through my blog. Under Statistics, there is a section that shows words and terms people use to find my blog, one of them was:
Keith Alexander Suicide. With my heart in my mouth and my fingers shaking, I googled Keith’s name and found an article at the top of several pages about him, that reported his death.
Reading only as far as: “…Was found dead…” I assumed that he had died of suicide.
I was relieved when Nova’s email and BBC’s reports confirmed that Keith had died of a brain aneurysm. I know that saying that I was relieved may sound strange, I know that the pain Nova and the rest of her family are experiencing, is very great indeed. Yet there is a difference between someone dying of natural causes, albeit prematurely, and someone dying by their own hand. Knowing the cause of death relieves the survivors of never-ending, never answerable questions.
Andrew was a great admirer of Nottingham Forest soccer player, Keith Alexander and lately Macclesfield’s Manager. He was proud that one of his very favorite people in the whole world was the sister of a famous soccer player.
Nova is one the most generous, loyal, selfless people I’ve ever met. Her brother can only have been the same. His death leaves a huge void in his family, his team, his former team-mates, the countless youths he coached and encouraged in England and his home Country of St. Lucia.
In an email yesterday, Florentina said: “…I keep thinking about Tigger (Andrew’s nickname) welcoming Keith with open arms, and then saying to him, well then, how about a game of footie… I reckon that since we’re in heaven I might actually have a fighting chance…”
My son has a new friend in Heaven.
Dearest Nova, I am sure that Keith already has a fan base up there and soon they’ll all be kicking around a ball or two in Heaven. Andrew must be so happy to have finally met Keith in person.