2019 Grateful 22: A lesson in passing

I write this from the ‘burbs of Milwaukee, WI. It’s morning here. The coffee is brewing and I’m checking emails before I leave for a day in the cemeteries. I like to do that – visit old cemeteries and see what those left behind have to say about those who’ve gone before them. Just ready to leave, I open an email and see that Budapest stalwart Alan Rees has passed away.

I’m sad yet not surprised. I’d heard his cancer had returned and that he was fighting the battle, a battle way that ensnares way too many people these days. We didn’t know each other well, just enough to chat and pass the time of day, or night, if we met while out and about. We shared a love of rugby though and had talked many times about his work in promoting rugby as a sport amongst the younger generations of Budapestians, both native and replanted.

He was passionate about the game. A few times we got as far as speaking about my interviewing him for the Budapest Times. We tried to set it up but either he was out of town or I was. Or something else came up that was more important. I regret that now. I regret not trying harder to make it work. I’d have liked to have heard what Alan had to say, to see what fed his passion. He was an interesting man.

As one of the founders and leaders of The Club BP, Alan was very supportive in fundraising for the orphanage in Göd that we supported through the Gift of the Gab. His relentless cheerfulness and optimism were infectious. He was a good ‘un.

Photo from Alan’s FB page

I always fancied that Alan was born in another era, one where gentlemen left calling cards and couples were chaperoned on their walks around the park. His height, his chiselled face, his precise speech – all lent him an other-worldly charm. Thankfully, his release was quick and peaceful. Cancer is too often a relentless mistress. There are many in Budapest who will miss him. His passing will leave a big hole in a lot of lives.

He’s left me with a lesson. It’s only one, but one I’m grateful for being reminded of. Don’t put stuff off… because truly, we never know the day nor the hour. Ta much, Alan. Happy travels.  We’ll tip a few to you during the RWC. Work your magic from heaven, and please, be kind to us Irish 🙂


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