When my best friend called I could barely understand her through her tears. I could tell something catastrophic had occurred, and finally I managed to make out that a dear friend of hers had passed away - a friend far too young to be gone so soon, a friend who had struggled but who had found happiness. I didn't know this other friend, but my best friend's pain and grief and loss was enough to bring me to tears. I felt such pain for her because I know how it feels to receive this sort of news.
I won't share the details as they are not mine to share. Like all sudden unexpected losses, though, it affects everyone who hears about it as you suddenly stop and realize how truly fragile our existence is, and how in a heartbeat everything can change. It puts all the things in your life into sharp focus, and suddenly your perspective changes entirely.
When you have experienced such a loss previously a fresh loss, even that of someone else, renews those feelings and those memories. Suddenly in your mind you are back to where your own loss occurred - in your kitchen receiving a phone call that changed your world, or at a bedside in the ICU. I've been there in my life, and it's not a place I want to revisit, but I know it will happen again some day. I try to steel myself, but you can never truly prepare for the unexpected.
So, dear friends, all I can say is this. Live your life to the fullest every day. Sing when you feel like it, laugh when it feels right, dance when you want to, and stay up all night if you are having a good time. Tell those you love that you love them, and tell them as often as you can. If someone has touched your life in some way - whether it's the mail lady, an old teacher, or an old friend you haven't seen in years - tell them. All we really have in the world is each other, and at times we can get so bogged down by the little stuff (for me, smashed cars and wonky electronics) that we lose sight of what matters. Sometimes we are so busy "existing" that we forget to live. Dear friends, the future is uncertain - remember to live. Have the time of your life.