Loss of a friend!

Yesterday (28th), I lost a dear friend. He was not a friend in the sense that we talked regularly. He was not a friend that I could meet regularly because he lived on our West coast. We really did not know each other that well … but we knew enough that mattered.

He was born in Israel and served in their military as (I believe) a tank commander. For reasons that are not known, he chose to move to Canada where he met my (then) sister-in-law. They decided to get married and move back to Israel and, as a part of that move, stayed in England for a short time … which was when we met.

His view of life was very refreshing, and rather frustrating! It was refreshing because nothing seemed to bother him unduly. It was a “live for today” perspective. It was frustrating because he saw limited value in planning ahead. Those two perspectives would possibly come from his military service.

They couldn’t settle in Israel and so soon returned to England, which is where he made his “mark”

There was a knock on our door one evening, and there stood Benny.Β  The following conversation went something like this:

B: “Hi Colin. Can you paint?”

C: “Paint? What? Pictures? Houses?”

B: “Buildings!”

C: “Well I’ve done lots of interior painting, and some exterior. Why?”

B: “Is it easy?”

C: “Well it’s not difficult.”

B: “Will you teach me how to paint?”

C: “Benny … why are you asking these questions?”

B: “We have a contract!”

C: “WE have a contract?”

B: “Yes! We’re going to paint the synagogue!”

C: “Benny … I’ve never been in a synagogue before, let alone painted one.”

B: “It won’t be difficult!”

C: “That’s great coming from somebody who is asking how to paint.”

B: “When can we start? They would like it done as soon as possible.”

C: “You’ll have to take me there and show me the building first.”

Therein followed enough stories to fill a small book. The “auditorium area” had a very high ceiling, and we did not own any scaffolding, so it was done a little at a time from a ladder. The price that Benny had agreed to (he simply undercut the lowest bid that had been received for the work), allowed us to break even on the project.

From a business perspective, it made no sense whatsoever, but Benny and I learned so much about each other that it was an invaluable experience.

So many people will be thinking about him with a smile on their face, as will I, and although I have many reasons to fondly remember him, the highlight of our relationship has to be that synagogue painting contract. It said so much about his personality.

Rest in peace dear friend. You left us far too early, but you certainly left your mark on so many people.

57 thoughts on “Loss of a friend!

    • Life can take so many twists and turns, and make our paths cross with possibly the most unlikely of individuals …. but those things make us who we are today. Just read some of your blog. Keep pushing until you are 100% convinced that you did everything that you could. If the end result is not of your choosing, then change direction/pick a different road … and give it everything you’ve got. Who knows …. you may be surprised at the outcome. πŸ™‚


  1. “Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never ever the same” – Flavia Weedn. Benny has definitely left a footprint on your heart. Thank-you for sharing this memory, it is a treasure.

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  2. I am so sorry about the loss of your good friend.
    Loved the story about painting the synagogue. It made me smile and think of my brother. Sounds exactly like something he would have done!
    Benny sounds like a terrific person with his outlook on life and I believe he knew you pretty well too. He had no doubt that you would help him with the painting, even if you were shaking your head about it at the same time.
    You could have told him that he was crazy and not helped, but look at what a great experience you would have been missing out on. Things that were shared during the time you guys spent together that might not have been shared at any other time.
    That story is a great example of the reward you can get from living in the moment!
    May that memory and many others comfort you now. My thoughts and prayers are with you and his family.

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  3. “So many people will be thinking about him with a smile on their face.” I am definitely one of those people! I am sorry for your loss Colin. But it seems you have gained priceless memories of Benny, and that’s very special. Perhaps in learning so much about each other, Benny may have taught you a lot about yourself. You are very fortunate indeed to have shared such a friendship with someone.

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