A modern dilemma – to delete or not?

This morning I had reason to send off an email to a person whose first name is “Geoff”. When the time came to send it, I began typing the letters of the word “Geoff” into the email “To” field, as one does. And, as always happens when I send a missive to any of my so-named acquaintances, a list of “Geoffs”, from which I could choose, appeared.

This can be a bit of a sad thing for me, because one of the Geoffs on my list is Geoff McClure, the man who ran the “Sporting Life” column in the Age for years until he died of cancer in March 2010. Geoff was one who delighted in my quirky stats and the ridiculously outlandish potential football scenarios I would proffer. (I wrote an obituary for Geoff on this site at the time. You can find it here.)

Each time this happens (I seem to write a lot of emails to people named Geoff), I wonder what the right thing to do is – should I remove Geoff McClure’s email address from my list of contacts? Perhaps it’s a bit morbid to leave it in there. And if it makes me sad each time I see it, what good is that?

On the other hand, if I remove it, would that be an act of abandonment, a metaphorical drawing of a line through Geoff’s life and outstanding contributions? I’m not a great fan of memorials and gravestones. I keep telling my kids to hand my body to science and not bother with a headstone or some such when I die. But if we didn’t have such “triggers” to prompt us, would we ever think of our dear departed family and friends? And if we didn’t, would it matter?

About Andrew Gigacz

Well, here we are. The Bulldogs have won a flag. What do I do now?


  1. Gigs, if it makes you remember him, and the memories are good, I’d leave it.

  2. Thanks, Cookie. Geoff remains in my list, at least for now!

  3. Hi Gigs

    I wasn’t a fan of traditional memorials either. But more and more I sense their importance. It may be because every day I drive through Carlton past Melbourne cemetery. The more I drive past that magnificent estate the more I respect its relevance to the living even though I don’t think I know a single person buried in there.

    Our parents and brother’s ashes are scattered on a small bend in the Blackwood river (near Nannup in the south-west of WA. They all died far too early. The area is off the road and has become a sanctuary for family members. A place to reflect and rejoice. Memories are important, however we store them.

    I wouldn’t delete Geoff. I don’t think it’s morbid to keep it at all. And sadness is not necessarily a bad thing. I still have my brother’s number on my phone.


  4. Gigs

    Understand where you are coming from. Keep it and be sadly reminded, lose it and feel as though you are chucking him away, so to speak.

    I feel the same way with people who are still with us who I don’t need to contact or see anymore, so it must be hard when they are gone and you had that relationship.

    I’d keep it, as the reminders, albeit sad, would turn quickly to making me smile with some good memory of them. I think you’d have more angst if you deleted.

    A wise man is a fine 80s movie said “Life moves pretty quick. If you don’t stop and take a look, you could miss something’

    Keep him there, it will make you stop and take a look every now and then


  5. Thanks Rick. Very pertinent and moving words. My dad, who turned 90 in August, was in favour of being cremated, but has recently changed his mind and would like to be buried. Although, from memory I think it’s because he found out being cremated was more expensive!



  6. Thanks Sean. That makes it 3-nil so far. Scores are NOT level!

  7. Gigs,

    My son died three years ago. I have the same problem as you. When I type in to send an email, his name still comes up, but I would never think of deleting it. It is a constant reminder how much I miss him and always will.


  8. Jeff Dowsing says

    I think you struck a chord here Gigs, death and loss is a topic we all tend to file in the too hard basket. Even worse must be for parents who lose children and confront decisions such as what to do with their room. It’s a balancing act… To honour and remember but not to waste away your own life dwelling too much.

  9. Beautifully touching little piece, Gigs. Never met Mr McClure, but always enjoyed his work. Keep him in the list I say! On another topic, disappointed I didn’t get to catch up with you at the launch this year – been a bit laid up. Catch ya next time, pal!

  10. Mick, thank you for sharing that. Although I have lost close friends I cannot begin to imagine what you have gone through. Your thoughts and those of others have convinced me that leaving Geoff’s name in the list is the right thing to do, for me at least.

    Jeff, wise words. Thanks.

    Squeezebox, thanks too for your kind and wise words and I’m looking forward to sharing a beer with you in the not too distant future! Cheers.

    Thanks to all for contributing to this discussion. It’s not an easy topic but one which I think we are better for, having discussed it. Certainly that’s the case for me.


  11. Dave Nadel says

    Just so you get an alternative view Gigs if it was me I would have deleted. I have had a few close friends die over the years (anyone my age has). I don’t need a phone or email list to remember them but I don’t want to be suddenly confronted by the fact that they are no longer with us when I am engaged in the mundane business of the day, either. I guess it all a matter of how you deal with emotion.

  12. Jillian McClure says

    Dear Gigs,

    As Geoff’s wife, I was deeply moved to read your words and the comments of those who took the time to give an opinion. I would like to think that you will keep his name in your list of contacts. He of course is never out of the thoughts of myself and our two children. We love and miss him more each day. He was a man of great intregrity and crammed so much into his 59 years. His son Sam has just graduated from Melbourne University with a degree in Media and Communications and is working at Radio 3AW as a commentator. His daughter Madeleine is a producer with Al Jazeera currently working in Qatar, having moved there after 4 years in London with them. The McClure name continues to live on within the Media. Finally, Geoff loved your stats! Warmest regards, Jillian McClure.

  13. Dear Jillian,

    Thanks so much for your words. Geoff will indeed remain in my list of contacts. It’s a strange thing about the modern world – I got to know Geoff quite well via email but never met him in person, which is a great regret for me. I’m sure he would be very proud of all of you.

    I can’t believe it’s almost three years since he left us. He is always spoken of fondly when I catch up with his colleagues and it is not an exaggeration to say that he played a hugely important part in the development of my career is a writer/editor. To have his name come up regularly in my contacts list serves us a wonderful reminder to me of that.

    So glad to hear that he loved my stats. I suppose I knew that already but is very special for me to hear that from you.


    Gigs (Andrew Gigacz)

  14. Gigs you make a difference pal. Good on ya

  15. Thanks T Bone.

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