I thought my CCR instructor was being hyperbolic. Melodramatic.
"If you do this for long enough," He had said, before accepting me as a student, "You are going to lose friends diving. You need to be OK with that."
"I'm not OK with that," I said.
I'm still not. OK with it. I have made my peace with the fact that it is likely to happen occasionally. But that doesn't mean I need to be OK with it.
In point of fact: I fucking hate it.
It has happened before. It will almost certainly happen again. And I will hate it then, too. But, as it turns out, my rebreather instructor was not wrong.
You do this for long enough, and you're going to lose friends diving. Or strangers. Or some rando you knew peripherally, but not well, but who you suddenly have to deal with. And when you are of a certain demographic, "dealing with it" involves getting called at inconvenient times and then having to go "deal with it." Which is never pleasant.
Occasionally people will ask, presumably out of morbid curiosity, "Have you ever had to go get a body?"
I have. Quite a number of times. I tend not to dwell on it because it has never been an occasion I relish remembering.
When you swim alongside some vacant eyes for a while, it is... not fun.
I lost a friend this week. A sweet, wonderful person. To add insult to injury, I have to watch a bunch of people impugning their ability as a diver... like they were just a complete fuckup who decided that dying would really show the community what-for.
I've lost friends diving before. I've had to go get them. I've lost dive friends and not had to go get them. It's never good. Ever. Lost divers are straightforward enough, anyway.
I'm not going to lie: I'll be missing my buddy for a long time. A long time. He was funny.