In Sainsbury's this morning I bumped into the secretary of a school where I did a few months supply last year. Last time I met her, she told me that one of the staff was very ill in hospital.
"How's Xxxxx?" I asked.
"He passed away last month," she said sadly.
My shopping was piling up at the checkout behind me as I listened to her. I had only worked with him for a few months but he had been friendly (not all the staff had made the effort) and was just a pleasant, easygoing man, always ready with a joke or a lighthearted comment.
I turned back to my shopping and the cashier.
"It puts things into perspective, hearing of someone dying," I remarked as she waited for me to catch up with packing my shopping. (I never can get them to do it for me!)
She looked at me blankly and did not reply.