I usually see my neighbor every Sunday evening at the café in our subdivision. I didn't see her for two weeks, which was not surprising, because I knew she and her husband were going to Key West for a week and I assumed that they didn't get back in time for our usual get-together, but as it turned out, that was not the reason for her absence.
A couple weeks ago my friend entertained her best friend and her friend's significant other from out of town. I met her visitors at our café. They were a terrific couple, enjoying Florida and each others' company, and obviously very much in love. It was a reverse May-November relationship as the woman, at age 50, was a bit older than the man, who was 37, but it was a solid, long-term relationship and the best thing that had happened to either of them so far in their lifetimes.
Hours ago I learned that the reason for my neighbor's absence was attendance at the funeral of her best friend's significant other.
His death reminds me of the similar sudden and untimely death of my Georgia neighbor's son at the age of 38, probably due to sepsis. [He DID leave a wife an infant son] and the sudden and untimely death of my niece, at age 20, for which the cause was never determined.
I am also reminded of a recent acquaintance who abruptly excused himself, mortified when he learned that he was six years younger than me. Our relationship was purely platonic so it was no big deal [at least, to me] when he never called again. Nevertheless, I am saddened that his concern about an age difference made it impossible for him to continue a pleasant and amiable relationship.
Obviously the situation of the ageist friend who ran out of my life cannot be compared to the tragic, untimely death of a young person. However, since we never know when the fickle hand of fate will slap us or those close to us, possibly bringing death, stroke, illness, physical or mental impairment, I'm of the opinion that if we're lucky enough to connect with someone on any basis, we would do well to appreciate whatever happiness that connection may bring -- whenever we can, and for as long as we can, without concern for social conventions, estate planning, or anything else.
Given the chance, I know I will.