When I was in my early twenties, as well as working during the day in an office, I also worked as a barmaid in a pub. I needed to do it to make ends meet, but it was also great fun and formed the greater part of my social life at the time. One particular friend that I made was L, we immediately hit it off and our friendship grew as time went on, until she was my best friend and general accomplice.
Then one day a new guy started working behind the bar. J was a few years younger than us. I liked J from the start. He had recently broken up with a long term girlfriend and held the general opinion that all women were dreadful, making him enormous fun to tease, which he took in remarkably good humour.
But L saw more and as their relationship progressed, she proved him wrong time and again, until he had no choice but to realise that some women weren't bad at all, that she in particular was great and that maybe he should keep hold of her. Which was a very wise choice indeed, as it turned out and they got married. I was so proud to be L's bridesmaid and to be a part of their big day, it was such a very happy time.
Life moves on, as it is wont to do, and over the following years, L and I grew apart. She was married and having babies, and I (quite rightly) was not a part of that. I was getting on with my own life. But I never worried about her. Because she had J to look after her. I knew that although life would have its ups and downs, she had everything that she wanted with J.
But I was wrong. You should never stop worrying about your friends. You should never let time go by without checking in. Because before you know it a month has gone past. And then another one. And then before you know it, it's a year, then another one. How does that happen? Where does the time go?
If anyone reading this has fallen out of contact with people that they care about, then I urge you to get in contact with them. Right now. Pick up the phone, send them a Facebook message, however you do it, just do it. If you know good people, then let them know that you care. Don't leave it until it's too late.
J died in a road accident on New Year's Day. He leaves behind him a loving wife, two daughters and a huge number of people who will miss him enormously. I hope he knows that I am one of them. The world is a sadder place without him in it.