Even if they wreck your head at times, you should never stop appreciating your friends and what they bring to your life, writes Dairne Black.

Last week, the news broke the story that a young man from Bray had been killed in a one car collision on our roads. When I say young, he was my age, only about 23. I never normally feel any emotional connection to news stories, but this one in particular struck a chord. I searched for him on Facebook, curiosity got the better of me, and the name sounded familiar. His page was filled with tributes of words, and photos, each telling a different story or memory, lamenting the loss of someone so young, too young, too young to have been taken.

Seeing this happy-go-lucky boy, made me wish I had met him. The impact he had on his peers and those around him seemed extraordinary. It was evident that in his brief time amongst them, he had touched them and left a long-lasting impact on them, and a certain legacy.

As young people, our friends become like our family. As the saying goes, “blood is thicker than water” but like most things, it’s out-dated. Our friends are our family. They support us, help us, comfort us, and know just as well as our family do. We value them all the more, because we are so grateful that they came into our lives, and that they still remain there. You were born into a family, you were blessed to have friends.

The death of a young person can only be described as tragic. Some people say it’s a waste but I’m reluctant to use that term. It’s tragic, heart-breaking and the many other adjectives used to describe the loss of a person. Do words ever sum things up? A picture speaks a thousand words, and pictures were among the tributes paid to this young man, showing him smiling, laughing, and happy with friends; an accurate reflection of a young man in the prime of his life.

We see our friends so often, connect with them daily. We make plans for the weekend, or the next day, never ever really or truly considering the possibility that they may not be around to dance in the club, go shopping or have a few drinks. It’s not something we think about or that’s on our radar. We focus on the good things in our life, like friends. Our friends help combat the bad, the working day, the 9-5, the college assignments and stress.

Sometimes I don’t think we realise just how much our friends do, without doing anything. It’s a bit clichéd to say, but sometimes, ‘being there’ is simply enough. It’s the little things. Chilling out, a hug, knowing they’re only a text message or a phone call away.

They’re the ones with cry with, breakdown to, celebrate with, and commiserate with. It’s all about us, them. As long as the people we need in our life are there, we feel somewhat secure. They’re like an invisibility cloak that we surround ourselves in. Friendship groups can be hard to penetrate and break into. Once you’re in, you’re in, and surrounded by this fantastic bunch of people.

Sometimes, I feel sorry for boyfriends and girlfriends who get brought into my group of friends. It’s big and often overwhelming. It’s full of personalities, big and small. Talkers, and listeners, although probably more talkers. It’s a lot of introductions and names, usually followed by a hug. All that said, they are one of the most wonderful bunch of people I have had the pleasure to know, and be a part of.

I know there’s a group not too far away from us, missing a piece of their puzzle, missing that text message, the hug, that laughter and that personality. I can’t begin to understand what you’re going through, but I know, that more than anything, it’s made me value the puzzle that I was dealt. And above all, to make the most of the precious pieces you have.