This, I know.
It is harder this year.
Monday saw me saying that most final of goodbyes to someone who,over the last 6 years, had moved into the 'jolly good pal' category.
It is a small group, and now, even smaller.
Latterly, as we meandered our way through very different PhD's, Jase was always there with a droll remark, an encouraging comment, or occasionally, a 'get on with it woman!'
His humour could make me snort my tea in a most unseemly manner.
He had the keenest mind I've ever encountered, was an avid Whovian, a lover of 'weird French stuff' [existential French theology], a generous spirit, and underneath a woolly-jumpered exterior, an unfailingly kind man.
Jase was an inspired giver of gifts: amongst many treasures [occasionally Knoxian], I rejoice not only in being the proud possessor of possibly the world's largest teapot [16 mugs or 20 cups...'great for the kirk session'], but also a Cthulhu mobile phone case...
He was one of the good guys, and the greatest gift, was of course, his friendship.
Right to the last, his courage and humour and kindness remained.
Having managed, through heroic efforts to finish his doctorate and graduate last July, he died just before his book was about to be published.
I shall miss him, and echoing the sentiments of another close pal 'I feel robbed.'
I'm minded of a poem written by another one whose life was also cut too short, although in vastly different circumstances. The poem was written on 19 September 1586 by Chidiock Tichborne on the eve of his execution for treason - he was involved in the Babington Plot to assassinate Elizabeth.
However, while Jase could think the occasional dire thought, an assassin he was not! Nevertheless, regardless of circumstance, the poem just seemed oddly fitting...
Tychbornes Elegie:My prime of youth is but a frost of cares,