A well known saying, and a great Billy Joel song, of course.
All this nostalgia has had me thinking about old friends again, especially those who are no longer here.
The first friend that I lost joined the Paratroopers when we left school. He was good looking, short and stocky - if he hit someone they stayed down. At first things went really well for him, he loved army life, got married and had a child. Then things took a bad turn - one of his squad was shot and killed by the IRA while standing next to my friend. My friend lost his nerve and was withdrawn from active duty which he hated. His family life suffered and they eventually separated. One New Years Eve, he decided he could not do it any longer and took his own life.
There was a small group of girls who took to hanging around with the band I was in. One of them took up with our self-styled mentor. The band split and we all lost touch. Then the girl (now a young woman) moved into a place down the road from us - she was heavily pregnant and on her own. We took to looking after her, fed her, my wife was even her birthing partner when she had her baby boy. A few weeks later she moved on and we did not see her again. A couple of years later we heard that she had committed suicide by setting herself on fire. This still haunts us - what could possibly have happened to her to make her do that? Her son is how grown up, I see him from time to time with his father. I doubt he knows that my wife was the first person to hold him.
My final lost friend was one of my best friends in my late teens. The title of this post is dedicated to him as it was him that introduced me to Billy Joel. This guy had a natural tendency to be a bit over weight, so he became fanatical about running, cycling, martial arts and playing badminton. Sunday afternoons were always spent with him and his brothers playing Dungeons and Dragons or similar games, after which we would head to the local pub for a few beers and then on to the Chinese take away for mega greasy pancake rolls. He was killed by a car one night while cycling home from playing badminton. I had ridden my motor bike along the same stretch of road only 10 minutes before.
Terri always seems to think that I have a positive outlook on life, so let me finish on this (assuming anyone has actually made it this far!). Readers who have been with me for a while might remember a post where I wrote about a dream I had shortly after I lost my daughter. In this dream I was in a place that, for want of a better word, must have been heaven. My daughter was there, and very happy. So were these three people that I have just written about. I take strength from that.