Our friend died on the day I turned in my bachelor’s dissertation. D was ‘our friend’ - he was really friends with J who lived a few doors away in one of the student communities in ‘Town’. Town was the rest of the larger community outside the university. Many evenings and some Sunday afternoons, I would stop by at J’s for food, TV, and gossip. So, D became our friend. In the period leading to the submission of my two hundred page bundle of my amusing loftiness; I had been pretty busy and as J said, ‘disappeared’. So on Thursday - I think it was Thursday - I stopped by at J’s and promised to visit later in the evening. I promised to see D and the others too.
I didn’t get to J’s until rather late at night. When I did, she told me D died from a car accident somewhere between Town and the university. It was a fifteen minute drive. I was stunned. I sat at the edge of J’s bed in shock for about forty minutes until I heard J laugh. It was at something on TV.
I was angry. How could J laugh when our friend had just died? Now I realise J must have found laughter as a way to deal with the pain of loss. Of the fragility of life, and of how things change.
Life ends at some point in time. For all of us - plants and animals. While we may never be ready to leave for the unknown, we hope that the end meets us grey with family and friends, and an history of love and laughter. We assume that death is some distance away, for the old and weak. So we save rather than spend, we procrastinate, and feed our hope for the ‘future’.