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Sincere thanks to everyone for your comments here and in PMs. I will be sending a card and letter over from here. I have received a lot of useful info. and great support from total strangers, as well as a few members that I have previously met.
To everyone who has ever criticised or complained about EF. You never know when it can become your most valued friend.
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I am very sorry for your loss. Many years ago a very close friend was killed in an avalanche in Switzerland. We were living in different cities, we kept in touch by mail (post). It was the late 1970s, no internet. I hadn't heard from her in a long time and then the day before my mid terms I received a letter from her family with a newspaper clipping about her death. I was in a terrible state of shock. There were few details. The funeral had already taken place.
I sent a handwritten card to her parents who I had met as we had visited each other's homes. A few months later I went to visit her parents. I took photos with me and we sat together and I showed them photos, many they hadn't seen, and I told them what a wonderful friend she was to me, about the good times and laughs we shared, and how much I missed her. It meant a lot to them. Many of the others who studied together also visited her family. Her parents showed me the box of condolence cards they received and wanted to know more about some of the others who sent cards.
They also told me more about the accident. This was the first friend I had ever lost and I knew whatever I was feeling was probably much worse for her family.
Once again, sorry about your friend. Try to remember all the good things...for me this helped a lot. Glad you found support here.