Friends are one of life’s amazing gifts. They aren’t souls that gravitate toward us because they are part of our family, a work associate, or some other mandatory connection that you happen to enjoy (or not). They enter our lives randomly, and the connection is immediate. Some call it chemistry, and there is definitely that… there’s an ease we feel in their company, an absence of a need to try too hard, and in most cases a shared sense of humor. I’ve never had a good friend that I didn’t laugh with … a lot.
My experience has been that friends come in all shapes and sizes and for all different lengths of time. Some will only be with you for a specific part of your life, for as long as they are needed. I have thought of those friends as my outside circle. My inside circle has always been something altogether different, and those relationships have in most cases passed the test of time. Maybe because I was an only child, my friends took on an elevated importance in my life. I have been beyond blessed and rich when it comes to friends.
A few days ago my dear friend, Cindi, sent me a text asking me to call. At our age, it’s never good if a friend texts you asking you to call. Not to be negative, but it’s usually news they don’t want to deliver via a text. And sadly, my suspicions were correct, we had lost our dear friend, Carrie. What compounded the hurt when receiving the news, is that I didn’t even know she was ill. Life is interesting … some friends leave you for whatever reason with a great deal of drama, and some leave so quietly that you didn’t even know they were planning to go.
Carrie came into my life in my young thirties … our girls went to preschool together. Our children were three years old in a class with an amazing teacher. There were four of us mothers who gravitated to each other just as our children did the same. It was a toss up who was enjoying who more, the kids or us moms. Between us four women, we had a total of nine children, but this class in particular consisted of my Amy, and then Natalie, Taylor and Stevie, three girls and one boy. We all shared a few precious years together, but in the last year of preschool, Mindy, who was Stevie’s mom developed brain cancer. We lost Mindy in a short time. Losing anyone is hard, but there are a few circumstances that rip your heart out more than others … to name a few, a child dying or a young mom dying leaving behind her kids.
We grieved Mindy’s loss and secretly thanked the heavens above for the reprieve. Cindy, Carrie and I had been granted a stay … we would enjoy watching our children grow into adolescents and from there adults. But the lesson would never be forgotten. Giving birth to your children is one blessing, watching them grow up is quite another.
Carrie and I lost touch for a number of years as our children were not in the same school district, but about ten years ago, we reunited. And just as most old friends find, it was like no time had passed. I enjoyed all her same sweet personality traits, like it was yesterday … the way she told a funny story, giggling all the while telling it, her fabulous sense of humor, and the look in her eye as she finished the tale asking only with her expression for your take on this hilarious narrative she had just shared with you. They were such crazy life anecdotes about aging parents and the like, and always full of the ridiculous, so it was ever so much fun to join in and share the humor with her.
Carrie and Paul visited us probably a year and a half ago, spending a great weekend with us hiking. As I piece together this story in hindsight, it was probably after that visit that she became ill and my mom also began to decline. As our lives went in separate stressful directions, neither of us knew what the other was up to, and it wouldn’t have been unusual to lose touch for months or even a year. There was just that comfort between friends that when the time was right, we would reunite with stories to share.
And it was time to reconnect, I had been thinking of her for a month or so. She was on my list… I’ll never think of my list quite the same after this.
Our original circle of four has now suddenly become two … a new reprieve, a new lesson about appreciating the gift of watching your children become adults, perhaps marry and become parents in their own rite.
Cindi said something kind of interesting to me when we talked … she said “I imagined this conversation in your blog.” She was right, this would make its way to my blog about crossroads, change, aging, loss, health, stress, fitness, yoga, renewal … in other words, life.
To Carrie, wherever she is, I send my love and sadly my regret. I know she is beyond such earthly cares, but nonetheless I hope she knows. And to my readers, get on the damn phone and call any loved one you have been thinking about, or text or do whatever you do to share that blessed connection you feel with them.
The photo is of my daughter, Amy on the right, Taylor (Carrie’s daughter) in the middle and Natalie (Cindi’s daughter) on the left, and sweet Mindy behind in the big white collar. Like mother(s) … like daughter(s)…always laughing.