We all sat outside the van at the beginning of July last year in the shade of a couple of parasols – 12 of us, friends and family, all enjoying barbequed food expertly cooked by Sam. Sam’s second eldest sister Elaine was there with her husband Jack. Sam’s mother was also there plus his eldest sister Marion and her husband. There were also a couple of nieces and nephews, and a few friends. It was a hot day as I remember, and after eating we walked down to the beach laughing and chatting.

About two weeks after this get-together Elaine noticed that Jack’s eyes had a yellow tinge to them. Alarm bells rang instantly in my brain. Jack had been obese for the 9 years that I’d known him, and after having typed enough clinic letters over the years from the Gastrohepatology Department, I envisaged a condition known as ‘fatty liver’ which has a similar effect on the liver to cirrhosis.

However, it was worse than that. Jack had advanced pancreatic cancer and had probably had this condition for some years. Elaine and Jack had only been married for 9 years, as it had been a second marriage for both of them. Jack probably had that cancer even on their wedding day. It turned out there were mets to the liver, lungs and spine, and by the October of last year Jack had been given only 8 months to live as the cancer was inoperable.

Jack underwent various chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments, but last Sunday, a year to the day of the barbeque, Jack died. He had just celebrated his 69th birthday. We shall attend his funeral on Friday week.

Enjoy it while you can, for life is short. Who knows what’s coming at us from around the corner?