Last night, an old friend from high school passed away. I found out about it this morning, predictably, through Facebook. Although she and I hadn’t had a face-to-face conversation in nearly two decades, I knew from keeping in touch via social media that she had married her high school sweetheart (a man she fell head over heels for the moment she met him) and together, they raised two wonderful boys.
My friend was my age. Yes, she had been sick for quite some time, but she was my age. I’m sure both of our 16-year-old young and foolish selves would have looked at our current selves and thought we were old as dirt. Only my friend won’t get the chance to be old as dirt. She won’t get the chance to dance at her children’s weddings. Or bounce a cherished grandchild on her knee. Or live her every dream. And that’s not fair.
My family has survived a lot in the past few months, but we’re all still here, and still together. Today, I made it a point to live in the moment to honour my friend.
I went on a field trip with my son’s class, not caring that the wee hands gathered around the table at the art studio were covered in white glue were leaving messy prints on my t-shirt. I picked up my kids and headed for the park after school for nearly two hours, letting them run around in the dirt, all loud voices and running feet. I bought them each an ice cream cone, and enjoyed one myself (a scarcely affordable luxury right now in our home). For once, I didn’t nag them about the melting ice cream dripping onto their hands and down their shirt fronts. I just watched their faces as they enjoyed their cones, revelling in their joy. My children don’t know I lost a friend today. They’re barely old enough to register the finality of death. All they know is that mommy hugged them extra tight this morning. And bought them ice cream this afternoon.
Life’s too short is a cliche, but in my friend’s case, that cliche couldn’t be truer. Rest in peace, my friend. You will be missed and always loved.