John Grainger Monkhouse 1943-2013

Some of the Monkhouse cousins in 2011. John RIP front row second from the left.

Some of the Monkhouse cousins in 2011. Back row: John, Tim, Elizabeth, Margaret, me, Michael, Andrew. Front row: Judith, John RIP, Susan, Christine, Margaret.

So, the funeral then. My cousin, 69, the first of our generation to go, brain tumour.

One of his brothers described him as an ‘expansive’ man—not his size, but his personality. He enlarged horizons. He was fun. He sparkled. I last saw him two years ago at our centenarian aunt’s funeral (see pic) and was all the better for it.

Lovely to meet cousins not seen for decades. And what gossip! All sorts of skeletons tumbling out of cupboards. Rows and fallings-out between the five Monkhouses (Monkhice I suppose) of my father’s generation meant that some of us 15 cousins never saw much of each other after the mid-1960s. So silly, and such a shame. Stories of resentments, inheritances, assumptions, fictions. A soap opera of a sort well-known to any clergyman. What a waste of energy when you might just as well let it all hang out.

Goodbye John. It was a sad end for him, a couple of weeks before his 70th birthday. But having known for some time that the end was nigh, he was at least able to ‘enjoy’ getting ready for it as best he could. Save us from dying unprepared. If I go at the same age as my parents, I’ve 8 years left at most.

We’re all be in a coffin one day, so we might as well start preparing for it now. Sparkle! There is no more worthwhile alternative.

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