A friend of mine died yesterday.

They were one of those online friends that my family used to scoff about and call “not a real friend.”

We met in person some years ago. They were in town on their way to visit family, and we had a very pleasant lunch. They were a real person with a real life and a real family. I felt like they could be my sibling.

We kept in touch over the years, but they fell ill. (Due to their wish for privacy, I will not disclose the illness, even though my friend is no longer alive.) At first, I was worried, but my friend seemed to be overcoming their illness and was on the way to recovery. Other problems cropped up in my life, and I lost touch. We didn’t communicate as much as we should have, and that was my fault entirely. I own it.

By chance, I found out from my friend’s partner that my friend passed away. Even though they had overcome their previous illness several times, a secondary condition caused them to rapidly decline. In less than 48 hours, my friend was gone, taken out by something unexpected as they continued to work towards a full recovery from their illness.

I’m terrible at keeping in touch, and this hurts my heart in a way I didn’t think possible. Every time I think I’m done crying for my friend, I start crying again.

This isn’t fair. They were supposed to have more time. They were supposed to have lunch with me again and marvel at my cherry blossom and meet my sunflower and my husband.

It wasn’t supposed to end like this.

Goodbye, Linden. I’m sorry. The world is so much dimmer without your light.

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