Many of you who share middle-to-later middle age with me have already had to work through personal loss on a number of levels: family, partners, lovers, friends, co-workers, and the likes. We all lost far too many good spirits in the first relentless waves of AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s, in addition to the natural losses from age-related natural causes, accidents and other diseases, such as cancer.
Looking back one day some years back I realized that over a period of about 18 months I'd attended a funeral or memorial on an average of one every six weeks, and regardless of how many we endure they never seem to get any easier.
Another good friend has passed away, and I'm feeling the loss today. He wasn't a perfect person, but few of us are anywhere near that. He did love life, his partner of many years, his business - and Thailand.
The flame from yet another candle flickers and goes out, but the thin ribbon of smoke it leaves behind lengthens, and rises toward heaven.