IN the wake of the death of someone you love, hindsight is a horrible, wonderful thing. 

If I had known then what I know now, I would have chosen my last words better; I would have made that trip a little earlier. The last time I hugged them, I would have held on a beat longer. I would have, I would have, I would have.

If we are lucky, in our lifetime, we will meet people who we become completely entangled with. Sometimes they become our life partners, but mostly they become our best friends. 

Of course, that kind of love rarely lends itself to sweeping declarations. Day to day, their presence is so unremarkable you would hardly notice it. It is funny how someone can stitch themselves into the fabric of your life so tightly that you would hardly recognise your world without them. The unbelievable privilege of a person who cares about you almost unconditionally; someone who is waiting in the wings, will humble you when required, and who can pick you up off your backside depending on what life has thrown at you that week.

And so, what then? Do we trust the people we love to know that we love them? And if you knew you were running out of chances to tell them how much they meant to you, would it change how you talked to them? Should it? 

There are plenty of platitudes about treating each day as though you may never get another. It is a noble enough concept, if a little idealistic. Not to mention that any time a friend of mine has uttered the phrase “carpe diem”, it has been used to justify a chaotic, irresponsible life decision.

Besides, I do not think that it would do any of us any good to approach every single conversation with the emotional ferocity that we might never have another one. Aside from being a little hysterical, it would be incredibly tiring. It would also undercut the fundamental rule of good friendship: that it usually exists without any fanfare at all.

When faced with the passing of someone you love, the nature of conversations change. How could they not? Everything that I never needed to say suddenly becomes everything that I simply did not. 

I am being stupid, I know I am. When I think back to my favourite conversations with a departed friend, it is not the mushy moments that I hold closest to my heart; it is literally everything else. It is the bratty, flippant exchanges in the face of something enormously scary. Reminiscing about every stupid, usually drunken night. It is the kind of dark, unflattering jokes that you only utter to someone you trust with your life.

And, no matter how tempting it might be to wish that I told them what I feel now -- that I loved them with my whole heart and then some -- I know they would simply have told me to “get a grip”.

Still, if knowing that someone loved you unequivocally is the greatest joy any of us will ever have, reckoning with the fact that you are out of chances to have those conversations is the biggest heartbreak.

Down to every last unremarkable word.