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At 3:30 AM on Friday, December 31st, I found out that my best friend and the man I have been in love with for over two years died in his sleep.

I keep hoping someone is going to tell me this is all just a joke, a test of some sort, but deep down I know I have to face this head-on. I wish I were one of those people who truly believes in an afterlife, because right now it would be comforting to think that I might see him again some day, but as far as I can know, there is no afterlife.

I will never see him at the bar again.

I will never hear him call me his "buddy, Duke" again.

I will never get to find out whether or not he really was an awesome dungeon master.

I will never get to dedicate a song to him at karaoke and know that he can hear it again.

I will never get another text message from him.

I will never hear him ask me for "back scratchies" again.

I will never get to bring him the home-cooked meals I promised.

I just saw him ten days ago, on Wednesday night, and asked me for back rubs to remember me by, and I just talked to him on Tuesday afternoon, when he texted me to ask how my vacation was going. The last thing I said to him was that I love him and miss him and looked forward to seeing him when I get back home.

He was my biggest supporter and staunchest ally, and above all, one of the best friends I could have hoped for in these past few months. He never failed to go above and beyond any amazing thing I could have even hoped he might do or say.

I am glad I got to tell him I love him. And I dare say, I am glad that in the last couple weeks, he really seemed to understand what I meant.

I am glad I told him, because I meant it, and I mean it, and I'll never get to tell him again and be certain that he is out there receiving the message. It doesn't mean I won't try, though.

I love you, D.

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If internet hugs mean anything then please accept my offerings of as many hugs as you want/need.

A couple of years ago my best friend was out in africa and uncontactable for two months. My mum's best friend/my godmother passed whilst he was out there, along with a load of other emotional stuff such as nearly losing my grandmother, failing my third driving test and other such stuff. Well the first loss made me take stock of just how much my best friend means to me and just how unimaginable it would be to lose him. What I'm trying to say is that whilst I haven't stood where you are - what I have experienced has given me glimpse enough to want to reach out and hug you.

Thank you. I was totally unprepared for this, even having known several people who died (including my father, who I had to have removed from life support). Dannon was unhealthy, and I didn't expect him to live long, but I thought it would be a matter of a year or two, not a matter of before-I-got-back-from-vacation.

We had plans for when I got back. Just before I left, he asked me for back rubs to remember me by. I obliged, but mentioned that I'm sure he wouldn't forget me and I would see him again in two weeks. He was supposed to run a Dungeons & Dragons game for my housemate and I. We were supposed to have a tickle fight. I was trying to convince him to move with me when I move across country.

I guess I expected him to be visibly sick first, or to die in an accident. Instead, his body just shut down quietly the night after he hosted his last karaoke show.

This death hit me harder than all the other deaths I have experienced. This is the first time I have cried over a death, and I have been sporadically crying for almost 48 hours now except for the time I've spent sleeping.

Death is always hard. Sometimes it is harder than others, but I don't think anyone ever really becomes immune to the pain of loss.

Nor should we become immune to it.

Grief runs its own course. If internet hugs and sharing some of it online helps you in any way - well I'm one person who will be offering internet hugs and will read what you write.

Thanks. It means a lot to me.

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I always try to look on the bright side to get through difficult times like this, and I have two things come to mind immediately.

1. He was very sick. He had HIV, diabetes, alcoholism (speculatively resulting in undiagnosed Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome), and he was constantly anxious and would hardly eat. His body wouldn't contain him any more. He isn't sick now. He isn't suffering.

2. I am not going through this alone. Everyone who knew him thought he was amazing. He was and is loved by many, many people. AT LEAST TWO HUNDRED PEOPLE ARE SHOWING UP TO HIS MEMORIAL TONIGHT. I am not the only person mourning his loss, and I would be foolish to think that I'm the only person to be this devastated about losing him. As deeply as I love/d him, I only knew him for about three years. Some of our mutual friends had been friends with him for fifteen years. I can't actually compare my sorrow with theirs, nor do I want to, but I am certainly not going to assume this hurts more for me.

So these things are keeping me breathing. It's hard to believe he's gone.

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I think we all hope to be so loved. I hope he knew in his lifetime how loved he was.

I'm going to make a post about the memorial right now.

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