We're all a little shell shocked around here as you can imagine, the sudden passing of someone you know is always going to cause some serious shock waves.
A colleague of mine said something today which has had my brain whirring all afternoon. She mentioned that she'd had a similar loss, with her friend's husband passing away suddenly and commented (whilst getting teary) that people sometimes seem to think that because it's a friend you've lost and not a relative that it somehow isn't so bad. Clearly it is, so I kind of got to thinking about the whole thing.
When you lose a friend, it seems to be you're grieving on different layers. Yes, you're grieving for the loss of the person you know, for the friendship you had, for the jokes you shared and laughs you had, but no longer will, for all those times in the future when you'll see something funny or sad or annoying and will think "I can't wait to tell X about that" and then realise you can't.
That's just one element though. There's also sadness at the damage that's done to your circle when you lose someone from it, the worry that whilst you might patch it up it will probably never be what it once was, not always in a bad way, it will be.... evolved I suppose could be the word, but it won't ever be the same.
Then there's the grief for the holes left in the hearts of the people you love. Sadness and frustration that other than just being there, there isn't really anything you can do to fix those holes, to soothe the ache, to take away the hurt. You for others and by the same token, them for you.
Emotions abound at the loss of a friend. Sadness. Anger. Frustration. Helpless. A myriad of others, round and back again. Sometimes so many its hard to process without feeling like your head is going to explode. Sometimes expoding at the very people you should be pulling closer, simply because they happen to be nearest to you at that time.
There isn't only negative to come from this though. There can't be, I don't think. To let only negative things come from the loss of a friend is to disrespect their memory. From Steve's passing I see the positives of bonds made strong, of friendships strengthened, of in-jokes even more ingrained in our collective psyche (is there really such a thing as a magadascan howling otter? One will never know).
I take from this loss the knowledge that whatever life throws at us. However busy we think we are. However far away we might be. We should always take more time to be with the people we love, with the family we're born to and with the ones of our own making. You never do know when someone might not be there for the tomorrow, for the "next time", for the "we should do that at some point".
So, for these positives, I raise a glass to you Steve (a big one, of course - there should not be any other kind) and I say "Cheers Doc" and know that Valhalla is a noiser and more boisterous place tonight for your presence.