... died last evening. I last saw him four weeks ago when I travelled back to Ireland specifically to see him before he underwent an op to remove a useless lung and a number of tumours. It was his second op to remove cancerous tumours - the first, about ten years ago was successful and he recovered well, though part of a lung had to be removed. That lung since collapsed completely, but he cracked on living life, loving his wife, supporting local cancer support initiatives and supporting his beloved Arsenal.
When I saw him, pre-op, it was the best he'd looked in many years. By all accounts the op went well, and he was released home ten days ago with meds, bottled oxygen, and a programme of recovery to follow. …. And he picked up an infection which affected his breathing, even on 100% oxygen. He was put in an induced coma late on Saturday, so wasn't responsive - my family was told he could probably hear though, so one by one they went in and told him they loved him, that he was courageous, that he was ok. He passed away last night surrounded by a large party of family and friends - I went out for a walk and passed on my own thoughts to him. A lovely evening on Skye. Apparently, in Dublin there was a thunderstorm. I couldn't get across from here. Bank holiday, no flights.
I wouldn't let Ray, or any of my other five brothers, support Liverpool when I was younger. They were mine, and I didn't care who they chose. The reds were mine. Thinking about it last night, I was glad about that with Ray, because we had some ding-dong discussions down the years. I remember particularly going into the North Bank with him years ago for a match against us - very early 90's I think, and I refused to wear an Arsenal jersey, but conceded to wearing a red and white striped bobble hat, trying to blend in, while keeping my allegiance. They won with a late goal, Smith, maybe?, and by then of course I was rumbled - You can't hide it can you - false support - so there was loads of pulling the bobble, joshing, pushing and insults. My brother cooled it down by telling all around that he was a Gunner through and through.
I'm sorry for ranting on here. You lot were brilliant when my Mum passed two years ago, so, frankly, I'm not sure where better to write it down, get it off my chest.
I'm away home later this week to see my brother. It's all that matters to me now. Nothing else.