What I learned from the unexpected death of a friend…
Your Senior Year of high school you spend your days laughing with your friends, talking about what everyone is going to be doing over the summer and whose dating who. There are Sleepovers where you gab about your boyfriends and football games and parties and prom. You have your group of girlfriends, you’re set to go off to college, and the biggest worry is where to go on Friday Night.
Graduation arrives, you celebrate, you say your goodbyes and you all go off to college and to conquer the world. You keep in touch with those girls, meeting up a few times over the years, making it to as many weddings as you can. Then you slowly lose contact, with moves, and babies, and more moves, and more babies–life takes over and you don’t see them as often, and your only source of communication is facebook.
Then it happens; you get a message from one of the girls…
Spending those years together in high school, talking about your future, NEVER would you have imagined that less than 15 years later one of them would be gone. Gone from the world and leaving behind her family, friends, and children.
Earlier this week, I got that message and I’ve been in a bit of shock ever since. It has taken several days for me to wrap my head around the fact that one of the best friends I ever had (albeit our hay day was back in the year 2000) had left this earth, all too soon.
My first inclination is to use words like “its not fair” and “I don’t understand” but I know better–I know that God has a plan for all of us and this was his plan for her. That doesn’t make it hurt any less, though.
So I started going through old photos, reminiscing of our youth and I came across this note that she had taped to the back of her Senior Picture.
And those words that we parted with as we went off to College suddenly took on a whole new meaning…
And through this, I haven’t stopped thinking. I have pondered the meaning of life but when it hits you like a door slamming shut you listen, and you learn a few things.
Life is Short. Yes, I know, so cliché–but it is. In an instant it can be gone. And then what? What do you leave behind? Or what do you do when left alone? Without someone that you love so dear? How do you want to be remembered? What mark will you leave? Yes, life is short, so we must go on living…now!
My family deserves the best of me….always. If I were gone tomorrow, it is not the hurried, yelling, or stressed out version that I want them to remember. It is not the complacent housewife that hasn’t done the laundry or the dishes. It is not the hurry up, just a minute, or wait until I finish this. NO. They deserve all of me, and the very best version of me because when we’re gone, we’re gone.
When you find a good one, don’t let them go. I am all too familiar with letting life get in the way and not keeping in touch. But when you find a true, great friend, you cannot let years go by without a visit or a phone call. Friends like that are hard to find, and when they’re gone, you will regret it.
So yes, my dear friend Cat, I will always remember you and all of the good times. I will be praying for your family and your children. I will miss you.
Friends Forever 🙂