There are few certainties in life except death.

I was fortunate enough to not come face to face with death until I was “grownup”, but the last few years have seen the unstoppable march of time reclaim two grandparents.

Two people who with joy welcomed me into their world and into their families. Two people who both directly, and through my parents, undoubtedly shaped me into the person I am today. Two people who cared for me and loved me probably more than I will ever realise.

Their passing came with an avalanche of emotions: helplessness, sadness, memories, relief that their suffering was over, guilt that I hadn’t got to know them as well as I could have. Dealing with their deaths took time, and learning. Should I grieve for their deaths or reflect on their lives with joy? Am I sad for them, or sad for me? Is that selfish, or normal, or expected?

The grieving process showed me that death is the course, and curse, of life. That while death is incredibly sad, it is also inevitable. It encouraged me to embrace my new roles in this world as an adult and a husband, and to try and make the most of the seemingly unending yet incredibly short time we are given as a citizen of life.

Today brought a new experience with death. The death of a friend who relied on us for her survival. A friend who we cared for and loved more than she knew, and possibly more than we knew. A friend who’s life, and death, was placed in our hands, and to whom I hope we made the right decisions. A friend who never said a word, yet brought joy to our lives. A friend who will leave a hole in my heart far bigger than I would ever have realised.

Farewell Tilly, you were the spikiest, grumpiest, cutest, stinkiest, friendliest, and most unusual friend I’ve ever had. You will be missed, but I am so glad to have known you, it was an honour.