The weird, weird thing about devastating loss is that life actually goes on. When you’re faced with a tragedy, a loss so huge that you have no idea how you can live through it, somehow, the world keeps turning, the seconds keep ticking.

—James Patterson, “Angel”

I had originally planned for this column to be a tribute to my good friend and Stone House tenant who unexpectedly passed away, leaving us all shocked and devastated. Unfortunately, in the last week, two other good friends suddenly passed, so now I write about three, as well as remind people to be fully present each and every day of your life. Those you love could literally be gone tomorrow.

Robyn Jernagan: I still look for your Forerunner every time I pull into the Stone House parking lot. I still expect you to come bee-bopping into our office with your latest joke or political commentary. I still expect to find your little stashes of food in the refrigerator or see you at the kitchen sink cleaning off dishes. Sometimes I think I do see you and then I am extra sad when I know my mind is playing tricks on me. You are so very missed. I hope you have found your way to all the best golf courses in the sky, love. You deserve only the best.

Sean Wood: Sorry I rode you so hard on your Serenity deadlines. I always learned something good from your articles and really enjoyed editing them once they finally arrived. I so miss all of our online chats and texts about such a variety of topics. I can’t believe there won’t be any more. I just read through a whole bunch and laughed at your hilarious comments and cried that they have come to an end—that you have come to an end here on earth. You leave a massive void in the community, in our lives, and most importantly in the lives of your family. May you rest in peace—deadline-free—and enjoy all the mountain wilderness adventure you can find in the great beyond.

Don Urbas: Though it’s been a while since we’ve been able to hang with you and Annette, we have countless fond memories of the wonderful times we shared out at bars and events, chatting, laughing and simply enjoying each other’s company. Thankfully, Annette and I had each other and much to chat about while you and Doug went off into your geeky engineering talks. We could glaze over together just listening to you two. My favorite thing about you was your warm smile and big bear hugs. Your stately presence filled a room upon entering—the epitome of a gentleman and a scholar. 

My sincere and deepest sympathy to the families and loved ones of these beautiful souls who have moved on. I know how much grief there is to bear, and I wish peace, comfort and strength for you all in the days ahead.

Never pass up the chance to say “I love you,” because tomorrow isn’t promised.”