I just received word that my oldest friend, that is, of longest standing, has died, and I am honouring her memory. Erstwhile, she was an erstwhile friend and it's right to use an archaic word for an archaic friendship. I lost her long ago and I felt the pain of parting then when we were close and wrenched apart by a misunderstanding. I mourned the loss then. Now I mourn our happy times and I regret the years that were lost to us. We didn't live in the same city, hadn't for 50-some years. Does that make it easier or harder? Not sure. Inured, perhaps. We lose so many people to distance and time; we are physically separated from them before the final parting and so maybe the ultimate departure is a little easier because we've had a hint of what it would be like without them.
I think this happened to my friends and family while I was away on my long cruise. I left my little pond without a ripple and slipped in again without a splash and no one noticed. Some have not even bothered to welcome me back. That's a good thing, I guess. I said long ago I wouldn't wish the pain of parting such as I suffered when Bill died, wouldn't wish that on anyone. It's clear that no one will experience it over my final passage. Very mature, very healthy.
Or is it indifference?