We recently buried one of my oldest friends. Ruth died on the 10th of November and a snow storm postponed her funeral until the following Monday. I have lost many friends over the years. Exes. Baby daddies. And today I found out that 3 weeks before Ruth died, another friend died. This was mentioned in Ruth’s obituary. People are dying from broken hearts. Ruth’s cousin was like a sister to her and I was told it was this cousin’s death that killed Ruth. They told me the cousin, Earlene, lost a son and that was the reason she died. My youngest child’s best friend Tamara died at 32 years old. She’d had a baby die at 2 months old a few weeks before her death. No matter the diagnosis, a broken heart can be an underlying cause of death in some cases. My oldest brother was killed in Vietnam in August of 1966. My mother died the year before in December. My last memory of my brother was him leaning against a fence and crying because he would have walked into our apartment and seen our mother dead on our living room floor. So many deaths in my life. I grew up with it. Older sister, older brother, my mom. Older cousins, younger cousins. A 5 year old nephew and a 6 year old niece died three weeks apart. Death is so constant in this family that it is like an intimate relative. Years ago I lost a grandson who didn’t live long enough for me to meet him. More recently I lost a great grandson who came into the world after God had already taken him back. Stillborn. The ones you get at the same time you lose them. The ones who leave before their memories are tangible but are memories nonetheless. A tiny body wrapped in a blanket. A tiny cap on their head to keep in warmth that no longer exists. And you, wishing you could breathe them into this world even as you wonder about the future of the ones already here. Just love them. The ones here and the ones already gone. Just love them.