Some people make an impact on your life even though they only hold a physical presence in it for a few days out of the year.
I have always gone to festivals during the summer, it's my way of taking a holiday. Over the years we have built up a 'festival family'. It's very big this family and includes people of all ages and from all walks of life. Over the years there have been new partners brought into the fold, and marriages along with that. Some of them had children already and some of us have had children as the years have gone by - extending the family again.
Some of us have developed very close friendships and arrange to get together across the winter months, some of us only communicate via the web outside of festy season. It makes no odds which of these it is - when we get together in a field in the summer it's like we were never apart.
Some people have drifted away from this family, it's the nature of life for things to ebb and flow.
Up until now what we haven't dealt with is the permanent loss of one our fold to death. It is one of those things that you just never, ever expect. Not in a million years.
This week it happened. And it has hit us hard.
So, like i say - some people make a big impact on your life even if their physical presence in it is only for a few days. Ade was one of those people. He was big, both physically and in personality. He laughed. He laughed a lot and he laughed loud. At 5am when you are in a tent and trying to sleep because your 5 year old will have you up at 7am no matter what, this gregarious laughter is somewhat annoying. Right now I'd give almost anything to have the chance to get annoyed with that laugh again. Even if you've suffered loss before, each and every time it happens you still have to go through that process of disbelief - of trying to comprehend that you will never see that person again. There will be no more hugs, no more laughter. There will be an empty space. There will be many times when you forget and think 'Ade will love this' or simply expect to see him in that field at Glastonbury because somehow there is something seriously wrong with a reality that does not have a 6ft odd bald man in a halter neck dress, refusing to put a top on when he's cold because 'i haven't got anything that goes with the dress'...
When the news spread among the family we gathered online and just didn't know what to say to each other. Part of this festival family also includes very close blood relatives of Ade. Not only are we dealing with our own grief at losing a friend, we are dealing with grief of two people we also care about very much. And if our hearts are breaking at this loss then it is so hard to think how much harder it must be for them.
It's been a couple of days now since this happened. I'm still so very sad. The raw shock has gone. The grief is still there. The disbelief is fading.
Ade may be gone in a physical sense but he has left his festival family with a myriad of memories. All of them happy ones. The next time we all get together in a field it's going to be different. The dynamic will have changed. But we'll remember Ade. We'll remember his laughter and his phrases and all the little quirks of our individual friendship, the way we interacted with him. We'll fill that Ade shaped hole with laughter. Lots of it.