Monday, November 16, 2009

Losing Friends is Hard

I heard my father-in-law Sharky say a few years before he passed away that the hardest part of growing older, was losing his friends. At the time, I hadn’t lost that many close friends, but I could tell by the sound of his voice and the look in his eyes, that he was speaking from experience.
That conversation was almost 20 years ago, and I’m getting to a place in my life where I understand first hand the meaning of his words.
When my wife and I were younger, we did a better job of spending time with our family and our good friends. Someone would call up, and at the spur of the moment, we’d all be piled in the back seat of a car having the time of our lives as we headed for a bluegrass festival, the mountains or the beach.
On other occasions, someone might find a good deal on steaks and in a flash, we’d have a yard full of our friends and be blazing steaks on the grill. It was not uncommon to spend the evening picking guitars, singing old country songs, and talking late into the night.
We found time to be with the people we cherished.
But something happened as we got older. We got busy, and put the things that make life worth living on the back burner. And for long stretches of time, it seems we couldn’t find time to spend with our friends and extended family.
We spent the last two Sunday evenings with friends, but it wasn’t under the best of conditions because we were at the funeral home. We lost two of our good friends in the blink of an eye.
As I stood in the visitation line for our friend Charlie Yow, I thought to myself just how brief and fragile life is.
It seemed that one moment they were there talking, laughing and making plans. The next moment all their friends had come together to pay their last respects.
If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times – “I am thrilled to see you, I just wish it could have been under better circumstances.
Why is it so hard to find time to visit with people whose friendship you cherish?
I asked myself this same question last year when we lost our dear friend Joel Robinson. For a while, we did better. We visited more of our friends and we rebuilt relationships. I wrote more cards and letters. I also penned personal e-mails instead of simply forwarding mindless jokes, which only gives the illusion of keeping in touch. But time has a way making you backslide on even the most sacred promises to yourself.
Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. Maybe I‘m at a point in life where I let go and simply learn to say goodbye.
On second thought, I wouldn’t be much of a friend to my friends if I believed that.
In the words of Emily Dickinson, “My friends are my estate.” I want my friends to know how much they mean to me while they are alive, and not say the words to their loved ones when it’s too late. I hope these words encourage you to call a friend today.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please consider sharing

Email Signup Form

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required