Email can seem impersonal at times, but it's actually good when it's delivering sad news, like the death of a friend. You have time to look at the words, step back away from them, roll them around in your head and let them ease down into your heart.
You don't have to come up with words right away - your brain can focus on the face of your friend, on the memories, and on offering a prayer for his soul and for the consolation of his loved ones - those who didn't just have distant memories, but a place in their heart that only he could fill, a place that will be empty and aching for days, weeks, months, years.
The email I received this morning letting me know that Wayne had died wasn't a surprise - I knew hospice had been called this week, knew that the cancer had already been declared victorious in this battle - but it still hit me with a jolt. I appreciated being able to slip gently into the knowledge.
Tom and I will be staying in my childhood home the next few days, celebrating Thanksgiving with my parents, siblings, and our children. I'll be giving thanks for my family, for another chance to be with them and create another Thanksgiving memory with them. I'll be giving thanks for my friends and the closeness we still share. And I'll be praying for Wayne's family - he was just 51 and leaves behind his mom, sister, and two kids, besides all of his friends. As you read this, please send up a prayer for them, too.