The news is filled with sordid rows about people with shamelessly misplaced priorities, but what have we really learnt this week?

Well, in the last seven days I have attended the funeral of a much-loved aunt, and heard that a terminally ill friend, who was a lovely man, and barely older than myself, has died.

And when I was at last able to meet up with another friend, who is coming to terms with the onset of Parkinson’s disease, there was yet more food for thought - but not necessarily the kind I was expecting.

He said his medical condition was obviously providing some unwanted new medical challenges that have to be faced and aren’t easy to overcome, but he has decided it isn’t going to define him - because, actually, life is good. Indeed, he has just celebrated his 70th birthday, and said he cannot remember being happier.

It got me thinking about our aunt’s funeral, when we were all trying to console ourselves that, at 96, she had had the proverbial ‘good innings’, and I realised there was another reason to feel consolation.

That’s because she died peacefully, after a short illness, so when we remember her in the future, it will begin with her smile, warm character and generosity.

But that’s rare. Our memories of most of the people we have lost are clouded by the manner and circumstances of their death, regardless of how much of a positive impact they made in life.

Right on cue, I sat down to watch a documentary about Martin Luther King Jnr. Now, even those people who don’t know much about him will probably know that he was assassinated (in 1968).

Sure enough, the film began with accounts of King’s murder, before eventually rewinding and getting down to telling the real story: his inspiring life.

In the same vein, John Lennon is remembered as the victim of a cold-blooded murderer first, and a musician second - despite the immense pleasure he still brings to so many others, long after his death, and especially to me.

Why our memories of people are back to front like this, I can't say, and perhaps we just can’t help ourselves.

But I am trying even harder to judge people by focusing on what they really are or were, and what actually defines them, not aspects of their story that were beyond their control.

And if you think all these solemn, serious and perhaps even morbid words are crying out for a happy ending, here it comes…

I am reminded of the true story told by my son, who is a drum teacher, about one of his students.

This particular student started out as an autistic kid who wanted to learn to play the drums, but he is blessed with such a rare and natural gift, we now know him as the brilliant drummer who just happened to be autistic.

May we all be known for the music we make, and not just the random echoes the world chooses to hear.