She said, “You may never see him again.”
It’s like this: We had this trip planned to visit an old high school buddy and I fell down the stairs. Trip canceled, or at best, postponed. As it turns out we missed seeing them at all this year. As it turns out #2, they may not be coming back to their retreat in Pennsylvania. CA then said those words: “You may never see them again”.
This is not fortune cookie stuff. It’s real life. As it turns out, we pass many doorways that we shall never open again - - all the time. That’s the way it is.
But this is a guy I palled around with in the 1940s. Do the numbers. That’s a while ago and there is a lot of that in-between history we did not share. You know how it usually goes. High school graduation scatters people like a whirlwind. Many times this commencement scattering is permanent and irrevocable. I went into a marriage and then into an educational journey no one would have expected and he went into the Air Force and flew nuclear armed bombers for twenty years, and after that had a successful business career.
Then late one night about ten years ago I got this phone call and I knew immediately who it was even after all those years of not being in touch. That voice - you just can’t make that up. To cut to the chase, we began seeing each other almost every year since. Sometimes here in Maine and sometimes in Pennsylvania at their family retreat.
As time moves on and without much fanfare, we both find that we are in our mid-eighties and suffering from multiple age related problems, a mutual dislike for air travel and almost 3000 road miles between us. Odds are that we are not going to see much of each other from now on.
But, isn’t that the way it is? Several of my closest and dearest friends have died tragically or of natural causes before their “normal” times. Isn’t that the way it is? Why should we think there is some sort of special roll for us to play in this drama? What’s special about you or me that we should be spared the usual terminal scenario of the human condition. Well, I’m sure you don’t pander to such foolishness.
I say there is an upside to all this and this is it: get all the hugs and kisses you can while you can. Nurture your friendships and keep them well. Write letters, send emails, make phone calls, send cards and gifts. Do the maintenance. The best gift life ever gave to you was a friend - no matter how far away they are.