Losing a friend is a reminder of what is truly important. While the sadness will linger, the memories of times shared will live on.
As telling as the greying muzzle of a dog, there are some signs that age is creeping up. Our own whiskers grey and muscles ache for that little bit longer than they used to.
You also say farewell to lifelong friends.
That's what happened to me yesterday. I lost a friend of forty years. A father and mother lost a son, a wife lost a husband and a young boy lost his father. My friend was far too young, aged only 53.
At times like this life can seem cruel and all too fleeting. While the heartache will linger for many, the rush of memories from decades of time shared also brought a sense of gratitude just to have the time we did.
My mate was an Olympic rower who later had some very challenging personal and professional times.
He emerged from them, always demonstrating his formidable and remarkable resilience. Like all experiences, they had a huge impact on him but he eventually found peace, happiness and purpose through those hardships.
Upon reflection, it may be that life's greatest gift, love, found him because of those difficulties.
As for many of us, the vicissitudes of life help to show us what is truly important. That helps us to become better people, husbands and fathers.
Many will know how difficult it is to hear the pain in the voices of those left behind. Even the strongest of reserve is washed away as grief takes hold and one is rendered powerless to fight it.
Knowing there is nothing you can do, except to let time heal the rawness of grief, is an exercise in humility and a salutary lesson for all.
As a lad, a year was always measured in terms of summer because that was when the greatest fun was had. As a man, we are aware that we never truly know how many summers we have left.
Hearing of a friend lost far too early is the greatest reminder to enjoy every single moment we can.
Give love, be loved and laugh often. They are the greatest legacies we can ever hope to leave.