Rest in peace John

I do not like funerals. This is not because of the obvious reason but I just find them to be a forced ritual that legally has to occur. There is no real alternative. I understand that they offer closure for many but the thought of having someone that does not know you speaking for you and about you seems a little bit odd to say the least.

Today I attended the funeral of John Benham, an old work colleague from Waitrose supermarket. John was a legend in his own right. Not the kind of legend who is immortalised through the media or in history but just one of those everyday legends that 99.9% of the population would not know about. I worked with him for eight years and found him to be an amazing character that, even after not working with him for three years, I still remember him fondly. Though a very private person, John would often tell stories from his past. Whether it be watching The Beatles, his favourite band, play at Shea Stadium or having his hero John Lennon bum a cigarette from him outside of Stechford Baths, John had some great anecdotes that would crop up intermittently.

Even in his late fifties, after a serious illness and in failing health John had a work ethic that many would find unbelievable, he was a workaholic. He would work six days a week. He would have to catch two buses to be in work for 5:45am, regardless of weather or his own health. He even had a second job on his day off. He would only sleep for three to four hours a night, not needing any more to function. When I asked him how he managed to function on such few hours sleep he responded: “Oli, you are a long time dead”. Having no religious beliefs he was given a Humanist ceremony, perfectly appropriate and easily the most impressive, if that is a word I can use, service I have seen at a funeral. It seemed funny hearing The Beatles songs that he would constantly sing in the store warehouse playing at his funeral even though I knew that it would be these that played.

Perhaps now he will finally get the rest that he never had in his life. Rest well John.

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