They Were Always There

In the mind-numbing, uncertain, challenging, fun, just "slightly on the edge" pursuit of career dreams, you knew they were always there. You left home to chase the dream, knowing friends and family would always be there. Visits home grew less frequent but you always knew that each time you returned, Mom, Dad, sister, grandparents, cousins and friends would be there.

Months became years became decades. You knew they'd be there, or so you thought. Then, one by one, they weren't there. A grandparent dies, then an aunt, an uncle, a college friend who you lost contact with ten years earlier.


Still, you knew the rest of them would still be there.

When I say you I really mean I.

Now the remaining ones are my generation and some of them are dying. They are NOT there. Now I'm dealing with a toxic mix of grief and regret. Regret that I didn't go home and spend time with them as I chased my dreams. Every city I've lived in is less that three hours from where they are. My credit card limit always had enough left for round trip tickets.

Email and Facebook have enabled contact but that only represents a ten year slice of the forty years I've been gone. I mostly missed the other thirty. Ok, I said it before: they could have kept in touch too and didn't. But hey, I'm the one who left.

The point? Or points?  Don't wait. Don't stop staying in touch. Don't assume there's a tomorrow. Don't think you can make this life journey alone.

Don't assume they will always be there. They won't.


Linda V. said…
Hey Stranger, sorry I dropped off the earth in the last few months. Had ankle surgery, then a bout with kidney stones. Been out of sorts about all the health issues. Nothing serious, just frustrating.

I like this blog, and I've just caught up on a bunch of your previous posts.

I agree with sometimes having regrets, but you said it yourself, they could have made some effort, too. Life gets busy sometimes, and suddenly time got away from you. Don't regret, just try to learn from it.

I just lost two friends, one on Tuesday (June 6) and one just yesterday. The first friend I haven't seen in two years, and the other, I saw just this Sunday. Her passing was a shock, as she seemed to be improving.

People grow up and sometimes they outgrow us, or we outgrow them. It doesn't mean you aren't friends or that you're at fault for letting the friendship lapse, it just means you both were pursuing the elusive "happiness" and families and jobs, and life. Be thankful for having known them, and having touched their life, and remember them with love.

Regrets should only come if you parted on difficult terms and failed to apologize and make amends. That is something that will weigh heavy on your heart.

I'm sorry for your loss, and for mine. I miss all my friends and family who have gone before, but I am thankful that I shared this world with them, however brief. I love you Bernie, and wish you peace!