Over the years I had become isolated from most of my old friends. In large part, this was due to them running away to the suburbs when they got married, while I remained downtown. Add to this my marriage to The Wife who is sometimes even more of the "moody loner" than I am and, in no time at all, the entire of my contact with my old social circle was via Christmas Cards and the infrequent New Years Eve party. The visitation/wake this afternoon will be quite a reunion for me, but under regrettable circumstances.
This has also hit us hard since she leaves behind two boys, 7 and 5, which is very easy to "map onto" our girls at 7 and 3. One of the downsides of getting married and starting a family later in life is that the actuarial data is not on your side. In our case, The Wife will be 65 when Daughter #2 will be old enough to drink ... the numbers were just a bit less for my friend, who died at age 46.
Not only was she a friend socially, but she had also been a client (we met when I was working in P.R. at my mother's firm, and she was a P.R. gal at Kraft), so the ripples from her passing are hitting various places in my Mom's circle of friends as well. It will be very hard to see her parents (both of whom are still alive), as they have now lost both their daughters. Again, the grief her father is feeling is something that I'm trying hard not to "map" as a future possibility for myself.
Needless to say, this death is a sobering event. It is one thing to hit one's mid-40's and have to start to deal with the indignities of age (joint pain, ear hair, weight that will not go away, declining eyesight, etc., etc., etc.) but somehow one has a "mental calendar" that says one shouldn't have to start dealing with mortality issues until one's mid-60's when one might expect one's friends to start dropping out of the game. As far as I can tell, none of us (from my old group) is handling this particularly well, so I guess that I'm lucky in some sense to have been "distanced" over the years. It is still very very sad.