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Six people in my circle died this month, one of them a very close friend — the father of my Godchildren. He was 59 and in rude good health. He cycled and swam and climbed mountains and hiked and canoed and ate healthily. He was thin. He didn’t smoke, or drink too much. His life was considered, moderate and lean; devoid of excess. He should have lived to a ripe old age. In the end, none of it mattered. He had a massive heart attack and died. It’s genetic, an old family friend gently shrugged. Nothing to do with health or happiness or lifestyle or personal choices. My godchildren, aged 18 and 21, are devastated. As am I. We’re all reeling with shock. There were no warning signs, no indication that death was imminent. Of course, all death comes as a shock to the system. Even when someone is old or sick, news of death brings on palpitations. It’s the finality of it. The end. My dad died in October 1994. He rose on that hot summer morning and ate breakfast with my mother — porridge with ...

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