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  • Barbara Copperthwaite

Saying goodbye

On Thursday my new book, The Perfect Friend, was published. It’s doing brilliantly well, sitting at number 64 on Amazon UK’s bestsellers list. It’s also number five in hot new releases and psychological fiction. It’s hit the number one spot on KOBO. On Amazon USA it’s in the top 200.

All of this is such fantastic news and I’m so pleased and grateful, but that’s not what this post is about. This is about my lovely Uncle Ray, who should been here to see all of this happening. But sadly he passed away on Wednesday, 27 June.

In one of the last conversations that we had he asked me about the book and wished me luck with it, saying he knew it would do well. That he was proud of me. The last thing that we said to each other was that we loved each other very much.

Tomorrow is his funeral and I will say goodbye to my incredibly clever, quick-witted, wonderful uncle. He’s with my Aunty Connie now, the love of his life, who he missed terribly and whose death he never got over. He once told me about the first time he saw her. His friend had wanted to learn to dance and had asked Uncle Ray along to the local dance hall keep him company. Uncle Ray hadn’t been keen but had reluctantly relented in the end.

‘As I walked across the dance floor to sit down,’ he told me, ‘I was looking at the empty seats in front of me. Then I looked up and saw Connie walking behind them. Boom.’ He tapped his chest. ‘It was like being physically hit by something. It was love.’

He was only 18 at the time, and they married five years later when he was 23. He’d had to propose three times before she accepted though because she was 10 years older than him and she’d worried about him making a mistake or changing his mind. No chance of that. They shared one of those rare and wonderful loves that lasts a lifetime and never faded. When I think of them together I think of laughter, because they were always happy.

Rest in peace, Uncle Ray.

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