Friends are precious. Why do we wait until it’s too late to tell our friends how much we love them? Why do we find ourselves with our back against a sadness wall, reflecting with other friends on how wonderful the missing one was, unable to change the fact that it’s too late to say it or show it in person?

We get complacent. We take it for granted. We become self-aware. Pride kicks in. It’s hard to look someone in the eye and tell them how nice they are. It’s makes us look weak. Or needy. We hope our actions will be sufficient to convey our feelings. We suppose we’ve done and said enough to show proof. We don’t want to let our own barriers down. Routine controls our lives. There is time. We’ll say it tomorrow. We’ll show it next week. We’ll write it next month.

But once in a tragic while, next week never comes. And here we are, overcome with grief and often, regrets. We go back and dig out old pictures and emails, we realise we didn’t answer that last letter as fully as we could have, we look at the calendar and think: “What, was it really four years ago?”

Just after posting about a disappeared paraglider pilot whom I only new by reputation and for having read one of his books, I (and many others) now have lost a real friend, a very good one. It had been almost four years since we’d been in touch. The world is wide, paths diverge, distance numbs the fingers required to type on a keyboard. I wish I’d written more. I wish I’d kept in touch.

This is a lesson to be learned. Fight less, hate less, complain less, love more, laugh more, live more. Now. While there’s time.