Although I recognise that the division of time into hours, days, weeks, and months is a human invention, oh boy am I glad that today is the last day of March. This month has been the very definition of shit and I am glad if it being over might even possibly mean that it gets better from here.

March struck me down with three weeks (and counting - yay!) of sickness: first the good old fashioned (but ever evolving) flu, followed by a dizzying kidney infection, and finally a generous sparkling of nasty side effects from insane antibiotics, which is why today is a text only entry (I can’t walk properly at the moment as one of my achilles tendons is not happy with its existence and refuses to collaborate with the rest of me).

Worse than that, though, is the fact that March robbed us of a dear friend.

It goes without saying that the death of any loved one is traumatic, yet there is a different kind of punch to the overnight disappearance of someone you hadn’t even realised you saw yourself growing old with.

It wasn’t even a road accident that stole him away: his heart simply stopped.

... and oh! What a heart!

Have you ever met a person with a smile so powerful it can lift a room? A person who exudes a strange form of generous gravitational energy? A person who will give you their cheerful undivided attention even if what you are saying is alcohol fuelled nonsense? A person who dedicates themselves jovially to whatever task is at hand one hundred percent - no matter the task? A person who will join you on your day dreaming trips through a better world full of incredible projects making them sound not only feasible but necessary?

Philipp was all of that and so much more.
He was a breath of open air in a closed world.
I don’t want to say goodbye even though I don’t have an option in this matter.

The world is a duller, colder, harder place without him in these hills.
Our little private cellar pub will never be quite the same.
His cruel death has torn a gaping hole in my heart.

Did he know how much we cared for him, how loved he was not just by my husband and I but by the community at large?
Could he have guessed that most of those coming to pay their respects would have to stand for lack of seats at the main church his funeral was held at?

Did he get how precious he was to me when we last hugged?

If his untimely death has taught me anything, it is this: don’t rely on those you care about figuring out how dear they are to you thanks to the hints you drop here and there, tell them. Tell them how much they mean to you, why you enjoy their company, how much you care. Vocalise your thoughts because life is incredibly fragile and they might be gone in the blink of an eye, when you least expect it.

Tell them now, before you are left gasping for air as you drown in the need to share with them all the things you never did because you didn’t want to seem too eager, too overbearing, too emotional.

Embrace sane insouciance: no one’s ever been offended by being told they matter.