In my life I have what I call the Final Five. These are the true friends that have stood and still stand with me. They have been part of my journey for decades and are still standing despite distance, differences, and infrequency of contact. There are not always five but there have never been more than five hence the name. At the time of this writing I just recently lost one; not through attrition, disagreement or growing apart but through his passing and I am devastated. I have been blessed to not have had a lot of death in my life but when it happens, when this happened, I found myself having difficulty handling it. I am no stranger to grief but we are infrequent bedfellows and with the passing of my friend I find myself staring deeply into the abyss. My negative thoughts range from how I have not been there for him enough to how maybe nothing matters at all and wondering how I will cope.
Regardless of my personal challenges with dealing with his passing, I cannot express the magnitude of his value to me despite the distance and infrequent communication. He was always a positive influence; a steadfast person in my ever shifting life. I am a better person for his friendship. If there is a heaven I pray for him to be there as he certainly has earned it. He is and will be missed.