When a friend of my parents' dies, I get an email from my mother with the subject line reading: Sad news. I realize it can't be anything too awful, otherwise Mom would call me instead of emailing me (I mean she's no Candy Spelling). That is, I don't expect to read anything like "your father died last Tuesday when he fell off a ladder while painting the house".
I've joked that my parents belong to the Death-of-the-Month Club because it seems that they're always going to some funeral home. Some people's parents join civic organizations or bridge clubs; my parents go to wakes. About thirty years ago they joined a volunteer organization and were one of the youngest couples. As a result, many of their friends are a little older. And now dying.
Lately Mom's emails seem to be occurring with greater frequency. And it made me a little sad when I talked to her this past week. Their friend Mike passed away at 83. He had a heart attack and didn't want surgery at his age - he just wanted to die at home . . . which he did . . . 2 days later. My parents always liked Mike and his wife Dell. Besides bearing a striking resemblance to Floyd the barber from the old Andy Griffith Show, Mike was a sweet, kind soul who never said a bad thing about anyone. And he ended just about every sentence with 'yyyyessir'.
This particular funeral was tough for my folks and I feel bad that they had to go through it. There's a price to pay for being friendly and outgoing and having so many friends - there's a lot of goodbyes for which you can neither plan nor allow yourself to expect.