Nearly twenty years ago I met a man who made a difference to me in a way I can't easily describe, we lived in different areas, so only caught up in person once in every great while, but we remained firm friends and throughout all the hardship the both of us had in those times, we were always there for each other. He was and still is, brother to me in all but blood.
Around the turn of the millenium, he found love out there in the colonies with someone he found on the net, and despite all our warnings to the contrary, he knew that she was the one and he gave up everything to go over there to be with her. I always kept a space available in the house for the day I expected he'd be calling with "Damn Brother, I need to come home."
But he never did...
Things didn't go well in the colonies, the job market dried up, he had to move around, times were hard, but he soldiered on doing all the things he needed to do and somehow, against all odds, He married the lady and they had children together. Contact became more sporadic as we both got jobs that occupied us the way that jobs do when you hit our age, but we caught up once or so a year.
Today I found out that the lady passed away yesterday, and the utter unfairness of life has hit me in a way that I didn't think it could. This is not the way the world should be, it shouldn't be for the good guys to shoulder everything like this, we don't deserve this. I was wrong all those years ago when I kept a space available expecting him to come home because that was for my own selfish reasons, because I wanted him back here, but that space never left my house, and its still there if he and his family need it.