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I don't tend to write about all the things in the news, but Matthew Perry's recent passing has so many layers filled with meaning, that I'm giving it a go today.

The show, "Friends", was never on my list of favourites. Not sure why, it might have been timing. But, because I never seem to see the first show of any popular series, I started watching on free-to-air TV over this past year.

When his book came out, I bought it and read it cover to cover, in just a couple of sittings. It was impressive how articulate he was, and what a good story teller, too. The second half lacked the clear sense of direction that was evident in the first half, but the book was written by a man who struggled with alcohol and painkillers. His brain could have been pretty mushy near the end.

Any time sober, is admirable. And he'd managed the last few years. It took a near- death scare to make him put in the effort, but I still applaud it just the same.

His cast mates released a joint statement this week that recognised the "love" his fans had for him and their own feeling of "family".

As sung in 1983 by Howard Jones, what is love?

While I'm asking questions, what is family?

You might wonder, when was the last time any of Matthew Perry's cast mates caught up with him? Does time matter? How long does the interval have to be, before a sibling or friend is no longer a brother, sister, or confidante?

I could say I've been friends with someone for 20 years, but we've spoken that many times over that period. Does that diminish the feelings of friendship?

As long as the feelings are there, and both parties know, then I don't think time matters.

Sometimes, your friends are your "family by choice", sometimes, they're "the only family you've got". Time does not diminish that.

The people we think of, as friends and family, are those we can call any time - every day or once in a blue moon. They are the people who will always welcome us, ask us how we've been and actually listen for our heartfelt answers. They're there for us when we need, and we're deeply grateful for that.

I know I am!

It could be a good time to put in a call .... you never know who'll be happy to pick up the phone ...

Remember the free counselling services in your area, if this has triggered something for you (and I'm sorry if that's the case).

Lifeline 131 114


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