For some, it happens during. For others, it occurs just after. For us, it's been 22 years. The passage of time doesn't make it any easier though. It just leads to more "if onlys" and "should haves."
Yesterday, I learned of the passing of a high school classmate. She's the first. And when your class is only about 120 people, everyone knows everyone. The news has been shooting through my former classmates like wildfire.
But time happens and life happens and you drift and go your separate ways. I wasn't particularly close with Katie, although I met her before high school, attending cheerleading camp with her when I was about 12 and 13. I certainly wasn't in her inner circle, nor she in mine. In all honesty, I've only spoken with her twice since we graduated 22 years ago, both times at reunions.
It's still hard, so I know her close circle of high school friends must be hurting.
There has been something positive though. Old friends reaching out. Messages and phone calls exchanged. We finally make time for conversations that we've been putting on the back burner for years.
I know this was inevitable. But it doesn't make it any easier.
Rest in peace, Katie. You will be missed.