In this day and age, you will meet someone on the internet in anonymity, and on those rare occasions when those pix-elated words on a screen actually becomes a human being, in the flesh, and you get on famously.
I am not ashamed to say that several of my closest friends I "met" on the internet - all through two railway related forums (go figure!) and to say that we take for granted this wondrous means of communicating with each other using only our fingertips on a keyboard is an understatement.
Over the last few days, one particular group of friends has suffered a blow. A very popular member of the forum died, at a very young age, and his bravery in the face of overwhelming odds is something that will last with me all my days.
Compare that, to the dismay and anguish when another of the group ups and leaves, and you are left wondering what more could have been done. Life can be brutal sometimes, and I am in no doubt that it is at its most brutal when you see the unfairness of a young life, lost, and the parting of a friend without reason.
In short, treasure your friends and colleagues, for life is too short to dwell on the bad times.
To absent friends.