Last week I woke up to the devastating news that Michael, the younger brother of one of my closest childhood friends, had passed away. His death was completely unexpected and all the more tragic because he was literally ripped from this world. He leaves behind his loving parents, his sister, his brother-in-law, young nieces, and countless friends. Everyone was and is in shock.

My own brother is the same age as Michael and they’ve been friends their entire lives. Trying to be present for my brother in his grief is humbling. As you might imagine, my parents are lifelong friends with Michael’s parents. The diameter of the bomb, as Yehuda Amichai called it, reaches all the way to God.

Unfortunately we live in a world where these things, the tragic and unexpected, happen. Overnight a Facebook page can become a memorial wall. There’s no explanation.

There’s a Jewish teaching that says that each life is a universe. Saving a life is nothing short of saving an entire universe. When a life is lost it’s as if an entire universe has been shattered. That’s how some of my loved ones feel in this moment. From where I stand I can’t say that they’re wrong.

Michael, may your memory be an eternal blessing and may all who love you eventually find comfort.

A shattered universe