More death. That’s why I’m here. Well, I suppose it’s not really about death — but it’s about death making me understand what this is about. I’ll try to explain. But bear with me. After all, it’s been more than two years since I’ve posted — so the blogging portion of my life (which goes back 13 years!) is a bit rusty.
I suppose this is about life — living life. It’s just ironic that it takes death to figure things out sometimes.
They say things happen in threes. Odd how these things work, but you can’t really argue with it. Within the last few weeks, three long-term friends of mine have lost a parent. Each case is unique, and each case sucks. But each case also brought me together with some very important people — and I suppose that’s my focus.
The first death was the father of a friend I’ve known since first grade. In other words, I’ve known this woman and her family for almost 45 years. I didn’t know her dad well, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was that I was there for my friend, her sisters and her mom. You always wonder what people know and recall. Well, when I was in the receiving line, my friend’s mom was commenting on all things related to my kids — because she knows them through Facebook. It was just funny.
The service was small, but I was glad to be there with two dear friends, friends I’ve known since high school and friends who have been there for me during my times of loss. The three of us had a bond with our mutual friend. Maybe things aren’t as tight now as they have been, but none of that mattered when it mattered most. We were there for each other. Period.
The second recent death was the mother of someone I’ve also known since first grade. In fact, he was in the same class as my friend from above who lost her dad. And this friend’s mom was another key part of growing up. She was a colleague of my mom, and she also served as my confirmation sponsor. I didn’t go to the funeral, but I arranged for a gathering the next night with my friend and four other guys, all of whom who have known each other forever.
What made this a bit unique is that the five of us hadn’t seen our friend who lost his mom in more than 30 years. Life takes us all on different paths and his has been a challenging one, yet the focus of the night was the progress he has made. Real progress. Clear to see progress.
We talked about that. It would have been odd not to. But we also shared memories and stories, and we laughed. A lot. While he has been through some dark periods, for this moment, all of us were back to a time where none of that mattered. All that mattered was the laughs and the stories and the friendship. Kind of like now. He left a couple days after that, and I honestly don’t know when the next time I’ll see him is, but I know if we all get together again, the focus will be on the good, with laughs to go around.
I decided to write this on the way home tonight from the third memorial of sorts. This was a night to pay tribute to the mother of a friend I’ve known since high school. In fact, she’s one of the people that was with me at the funeral that started this tale. I only see this friend a few times a year, two or three maybe. Yet here we are, within the last month, seeing each other twice. Because of death.
But what it did was bring a group of people together tonight. People I go back 30-plus years with (and even more in some cases). And when those kind of people are together, well, it’s a good thing — despite that it’s usually a bad thing that brings you together in the first place. That’s just the phase of life we are in. Parents are dying. First it was weddings that brought us together, now it’s funerals.
A couple of the people I was with tonight are unique in the fact that while we went to high school together, our relationships have gotten stronger in the more than 30 years since. And I love that. I love that we are closer now than we were then. And I love that we’re there for each other.
In part of the conversation tonight, the status of another friend’s parent came up. And all indications are that it won’t be a long, long time before we are together again, like we were tonight. Our vow was to not wait for that moment. To try and be together more often — and in happier times. It’s not always easy — especially when folks are in different states. But what made me happy was the desire to do that — to want to that, whether it’s doable or not.
Maybe you don’t have a ton in common now, but it doesn’t matter. You share so much and you have so many memories to fall back on that it can fill in the blanks. We laughed hard tonight. We might see each other before our next “required” time together, or we might not. What matters most is that bonds remain strong, and no matter where life takes us, there are people we can count on, that we can laugh with and that we can share with. Always.