In August 2000 I let my house in Orakei to a lovely, funny and very clever man called Lloyd Lang. Lloyd was a psychiatrist and although I didn’t want any dogs in the house, for some reason it seemed like the right thing to do so he moved in with his dogs. I became friendly with Lloyd and one day when he said how much he liked the house, I said well buy it then. And he did. Having Lloyd in that house, where Tom and Tim had spend 7 years as young boys, kept a connection going. It’s difficult to explain but it’s been a good thing for me.
Exactly two years ago I was at the Polynesian spa in Rotorua on the evening before the Rotorua Marathon when the unmistakable sound of Lloyd and a local doctor friend came to my attention. Lloyd completed the 10k event in the hour he had hoped and on the evening after we went for a Thai dinner. I don’t reckon anyone has entertained my Tim more at dinner than what Lloyd did that night. Tim still remembers it. “Twenty dollars!” he cheerfully offered to any of us and selected waiters for guessing his favourite song, his favourite food and a range of other random thoughts.
Today I left the workshop we were running to attend Lloyd’s funeral. He died on Sunday from cardiac arrest. I knew he had had surgery and he had told me once recently he wasn’t great. When I last saw him a couple of weeks ago he introduced me to his new lady Amber. He was clearly happy.
I’ve never been to a Jewish funeral before and was surprised at the ritual and speed. I’m glad that I shovelled some soil into Lloyd’s grave. I put a shovel of soil in for Tim and others for those I knew who were touched by Lloyd but didn’t make it today.
I’ll run the marathon in the morning thinking of Lloyd. Like I am now.
Small comfort to his family and partner right now, but you made the world a happier place Lloyd. Thank you.
His favourite song? “I did it my way”, by Frank Sinatra.