Last Sunday my grandfather (my mother's father, the one I was close to) died. It would be foolish to say this was unexpected, given that he was 94 and had recently been suffering from gastric lymphoma and congestive heart failure. Still, he had been treated for both of these conditions and had shown significant improvement, so I had not been seriously expecting it - but at that age your body can just give out despite everything, particularly when it has been through that kind of rough treatment.
Of course it was sad, but he did have a good long life, and he seemed to enjoy it until it got close to the end. It was only fairly recently - maybe the last 2 years or so - that he stopped being able to get around well, and even more recently that he really started feeling bad most of the time. And his mind was as sharp as ever up until the end - when he was in the hospital for the congestive heart failure he was advising the nursing staff on how they might improve their medication regimens (his second career, which he kept up until well into his 80s, was as a consultant for nursing homes on their pharmaceutical procedures).
We went to New Jersey for the funeral, which was as good as could be expected. Everyone who should have come was able to, and it was good to see people despite everything.
Still, it wasn't a great thing to have happen.
This Sunday, John M. Ford died.
He was one of my favorite writers for years - probably since 1984. He didn't write a lot of books (nine, I think), but they were all excellent, and all different from each other. My favorite is probably The Dragon Waiting, which you need to read right now if you haven't already. He won the World Fantasy Award for that book, and won another for one of his Christmas cards.
He was also a major presence on parts of the Internet I hung out in - various Usenet groups, the Pyramid magazine groups (which I stopped paying to read a while back because I was hardly reading anything but his posts - a foolish economy), and Making Light. He was often funny, sometimes thought-provoking, and always brilliant. He was a wonderful poet and would often drop amazing extempore verse into comment threads.
I didn't know him personally, but he occupied a big space in my mental landscape and I miss him a lot.
No one else I know is allowed to die anytime soon - does everyone understand that? Good.