The School of Ken

Posted April 12th, 2010 by Penny Wise

Apr 12, 2010

What an emotional week it's been! Happy things first. On Friday we had the pleasure of attending the wedding of our good friend Dave to his lovely wife Maria. We felt very privileged to be invited to this intimate gathering. Everything about the day was perfect - the weather, the venue, the food, the music, the company. The whole occasion was a perfect reflection of these two people and their values. They invited only the family and friends who were closest and most important to them, meaning they had plenty of time to mingle and share their special day with everyone. Music was provided after the ceremony by the bride's sister and her friend, stunningly simple on vocals and guitar. The evening 'knees-up' came courtesy of the bride's father and his band, who could play anything from rock to country, whatever the dancers wanted. A good time was had by all! Two more decent, genuine people you couldn't hope to find. Dave is no small chap but his face has always been an open book and I couldn't help smiling as I watched him at the reception. People often say 'the bride was radiant' but this would have to be the first time I have seen a radiant groom. He was positively glowing!

This delightful celebration was a wonderful way to finish what had also been an extremely sad day, for it was also the same day that we had to farewell a dear friend. Ken Greenfield was a colleague of Noel's, who was adored by everyone he came into contact with. He suffered a massive heart attack on Easter Sunday and died instantly, aged 62. Understandably this news was met with immense shock and sadness but I have yet to find anyone who didn't let out a chuckle shortly after and say 'Do you remember when...?' That was the kind of person Ken was, he made everyone laugh. All the time. As expected, his funeral was huge, with an estimated 1500 people attending the service. As also expected, his funeral was full of laughter - or as Liam told Noel afterwards 'That was the funniest funeral ever!' Everyone had so many hilarious stories to share, they had to limit the number of speakers at the service. We all agreed that Ken would have been pleased as punch with his send off. As funerals go, it was undoubtedly the best one ever!

I learned a heck of a lot at that funeral. Sure, I learned a lot about Ken's childhood, his career and his family that I didn't know before but what I learned most was that Ken lived the best life he possibly could. He loved everything about his life. He loved a drink and a flutter on the horses. He loved his job, his children and grandchildren and most of all, his wonderful partner of 20 years. As she told everyone when she stood up bravely to speak at the funeral, 'All Ken wanted from life was to have fun. And we DID have fun'. While it is tragic that such a good man was taken from us so soon, I think many of us learned something from the way he lived. As Fiona has told me many times, 'happiness does not come from things' and Ken was a true testament to that. For him, happiness came in the form of your company, pure and simple. He surrounded himself with people he loved and paid no mind to those that he didn't. A huge man with a giant sense of humour an even bigger heart. The saying 'nobody's indispensable' does not apply to Ken Greenfield. He is irreplacable and there will never be another one like him but I will forever be grateful to him for teaching me some important life lessons.

Eventually the jokes and laughter had to come to an end and we had to bid a final farewell to Ken. Ali was inconsolable bless him; he adored 'Poppa Ken', as all children did. 'Now I don't have anyone to tell me I'm ugly and I can't catch fish!' he sobbed. 'We'll never be able to put ice cubes down the back of his pants again!' Liam agreed sadly. The wedding later on that afternoon was just what we all needed and couldn't have come at a better time. It put us back in touch with some people we hadn't seen for a long time and we realised just how important our friends are to us. Noel and I have never been great 'visitors' - we've always been so tied up with work, the boys and sports that there has never been much time for anything else. But this week we have realised that life is too short. From now on we will make more of an effort to spend time with the people we love, who's company costs nothing, yet is priceless. From now on, we will endeavour to live our lives according to the School of Ken.

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