When I was four or five I was alone with my Grandfather as he died of a heart attack. I ran what felt like a mile (and was actually uphill the whole way) to raise the alarm, then watched from the top of the hill as the ambulance arrived to take him away. They say that children don't understand death, but in such circumstances they're quick learners. Any notion that my parents could protect me from that experience had clearly had the rug pulled out from under it. The experience certainly determined the way in which I would handle death later in life.
So I find it hard to be sad at the news that my friend Dan passed away this morning. I wish I'd had the opportunity to meet him in person, and I feel for his partner. I'm glad that I got the opportunity to have so many long and rambling discussions with him; especially the many occasions on which his worldview and mine seemed wholly incompatible and yet we maintained a mutual understanding.
Thanks for making the world better, Dan.