There is a hole in the world.

It cannot be filled, paved over, patched, or otherwise repaired.  It will not heal, will not scab, though it may scar.

It is not a small wound, like the loss of a tooth, that fleeting sensation that something familiar is missing.  It is visceral, devastating, the kind of wound that leaves you gutted on the floor, gasping for breath that will not come.

Yesterday, the 17th of May, one of my truest and dearest friends on this earth, Timothy Best, passed away.

And we are all so much the poorer for it.

He was, to borrow a phrase, a fellow of infinite jest, always willing to make himself the butt of a joke if it meant cheer for another. His oft-acerbic wit hid a greater depth of compassion than nearly anyone I have ever known, a gruff exterior to conceal the tender heart within.  He read voraciously, tales of nobility and self-sacrifice, never attributing those characteristics to himself though to me he was as true a knight as any of those in the stories he cherished.  He was generous to a fault, often more than he could afford, though he never needed to buy his friends.  Stubborn, and proud, yet he bore up under the slings and arrows of misfortune with better grace than I have ever managed.  He found joy in the success of his friends, shared their sorrows, and he did all of these things with such profound humility that it never occurred to him how rare he was.

Tim was there, holding me up the night my world fell apart, and to this day I have nightmares about what might have unfolded otherwise.  For fifteen years he had been there, supporting, cajoling, and pushing me as I needed it.

I owe him a great and terrible debt, and it is one that I can never discharge.  I will carry it with me always, a reminder of the friend I have lost.

More than a friend.  It seems an inadequate word to describe him, a man that I knew with absolute certainty would always be there for me if I needed him, and I can only hope that he knew as much of me.

He was my brother, and I loved him.