Last year began with two goodbyes.
All goodbyes are sad, but some are more sad than others.
Alasdair went missing from his fishing boat in November 2017 and his body was found three weeks later on Staffin, in Skye. Sometimes when someone dies, you think of everybody else you would rather have chosen. He was a fisherman, historian, front-of-house man at the Inn, blogger, photographer - passionate about Applecross, music, where we were going as a community, as a country. As a blogger and an idealist, he would have perhaps found his boat coming home on its own incredibly poignant. I am sure he would have also found The Sound lit up with lights from all the local boats, trying to lead him home, very moving. He seemed moved greatly by things. There are many people I would have put higher up the death wish list. It's maybe as well I am not in charge. His memorial was, of course, sad but also poignant, funny (folk had been asked to wear woolly Arran jumpers and/or kilts in his memory), musical and really just so fitting - I imagine he would have enjoyed writing about it. An amazing family and an incredible wife. An incredible life. He was only 57. On the day after his memorial, a sadder death occurred. Even Ali would be further up the list than Bethany. She was just 18 when she died of complications after pneumonia and sepsis (https://sepsistrust.org/about/about-sepsis/). I had the privilege of teaching Bethany and her brother in primary school. She was in my class for my first year in Applecross and was every teacher's dream (a hard working top student, kind to the younger ones). I taught her younger brother for three years (he was KING of School Camps). They were close and he looked up to her greatly, as well as pestering her Hellishly.... I imagine Bethany in school rolling her eyes to the skies at him.... A beautiful girl, intelligent, talented (although not so sure herself of that), it was always a pleasure to catch up with her after she had finished primary school. I started writing piano songs during the three week period that Ali was missing. It hadn't occurred to me before then to try. It seems that music notes can express some things better than words can. I started hearing this one in my head a week after Bethany died. Other songs interrupted during the year - some angry, some tongue in cheek, some cabaret, some sad. This one is necessarily a sad one. Today is a year since her death.
This is my goodbye to Bethany. The photos are almost all Ali's, from his blog - Applecross Life. I think he would not have minded me pinching them for Bethany's song.