Although I enjoy the good times in life, I know that these are not the times that make us grow. They are not the fertilizer in our soil or the rain that waters our roots.
Lately, I seem to think about home a lot and about the people who were most important to me in my forming years. Even though I haven't seen or spoken with many of them in getting on to two decades, in my mind and heart, I can so easily imagine turning to them in times of need. Their friendships long ago were that important. And I knew their heart and that they also knew mine.
As adults we become such guarded and shielded individuals. The cars we drive and the houses we live in symbolize our good character and choices in life - laid out for all the world to see. Funny, where I grew up neither mattered so much. It was instead the integrity of the people who lived in said houses and the things that were spoken of them in the community that characterized them. I was brought up to believe in people, not dollars or logos on cars.
Tonight I am sad. Heart-breaking, tears falling, breath catching kind of sad. One of those friends from so many years ago lost her dad recently. And in my heart I'm reaching out. And I want to say that I'm sorry for the loss, but it sounds trite even though I don't mean it that way. And I want to tell her all the things I remember about us growing up together - both for her and for me - to remember those countless sleepovers and biking in the summer and trying to skateboard down the hill with the turn at the top, learning to put on makeup in the tiny little mirror on her dresser and talking for hours about all the things that truly mattered and yet didn't at all.
I think about some friendships and how they never changed me or challenged me. Terri always did that. She introduced me to things I wouldn't have found myself, might not have even thought to look for. And she satisfied in me the need to have a friend with equally obsessed thought tendencies about the universe and what it all meant.
In my mind's eye I picture us as kids with such clarity. The things we did, the places we went, how similar and shared our experiences were and how equally different, all at the same time. It brings me comfort. Knowing that a part of my life was traveled and intertwined for a time with such a significant person and her family. We had no symbols of wealth or status, only friendship and people around us doing the best they could with what they had been given.
Her dad has been on a journey of dying for many years. When I was a kid, he was a healthy and vibrant man with a quick smirk/smile and always a kind welcome to me in his house. I recall nights when Terri and I stayed awake so late talking, that her dad would actually get up and leave to go work in the woods before we would fall asleep for the first time. I never knew him well and yet I spent a lot of time in proximity.
When we grieve it is not for those who pass on but for those who remain. Tonight I am giving an exhaled sigh for a journey that has come to an end. A journey that has stamped a mark on those left behind. To deal with and forgive and accept and release and embrace - all of those conflicting emotions we feel in life and now must also deal with in the absence of someone loved. I'm overwhelmed at the thoughts of it all. But you always were stronger than I, perhaps this is why you have been entrusted.
I wish I could always live courageously outside of the boundaries of societal houses and cars. And for the moment I can. My heart is with you, my dear friend. May the sun come out and shine warmly on your garden of life.