This time of year is filled with all sorts of endings and beginnings and lovely events. Spring has been in full bloom for awhile in some parts of the world, and fall in other parts of the world. Proms, commencements, and for some new jobs are beginning, too. I had recently heard that my high school class was having its 40th reunion. I remember when my parents were having their 40th reunion and thinking ~”dang they are old”. Now I think to myself “dang 40 years went by fast”. This year I would love to be able to get to the reunion, but life’s responsibilities will keep me away
I have been back to my college a few times for reunions. Those reunions are only every 5 years. To clarify, though, each year there are reunions, but let’s say you graduated in 1910. then your reunions would be in 1915, 1920, and so on. Anyway, my husband and I have been back for a few of those, but not as many as we would have wished.
My high school reunions? I haven’t been back for any of them. To me high school wasn’t the be-all and end-all. I enjoyed my classes and the people I knew. Many of my closest friends at the time attended my high school. But with a few exceptions, most of my friendships were at my church youth group. Some attended my high school, and some other high schools. In my youth group, my closest friends were 2 years behind me in HS. We didn’t socialize at school, only at my youth group.
There was one friend I had at school that was not in my youth group. We were not of the same faith, but that mattered not. I will call her “Mary”. She and I loved to read—and enjoyed writing as well. We were on the editorial board for our high school literary magazine. She did that because she loved that aspect in addition to being a terrific writer. I joined our senior year in the hopes that some of my submissions would get published. I figured my stuff would have 2 votes and we could convince 2 more. No such luck, though! My stuff was pretty pedestrian!
“Mary” and I lived in the same neighborhood.Now we came of age in the early 1970s. “Mary” was a big proponent of women’s rights, equal pay for equal work, increasing opportunities etc. She and my dad loved jousting with each other. Dad was so fun and enjoyed teasing her. She would tease right back. One time she had spent the day, dinnertime, and on into the evening at our house. She went to leave and drive home. She had to come back in and ask my dad to help her get her get her car unstuck from the snowdrift. Oh she and dad had so much fun laughing about that. This happened when “Mary” and I were in college. We were still good friends, but we attended different colleges and almost never got the chance to see each other; only when we were home on breaks.
As it so happened, we each spent a semester in Europe when we were in college. We were in different countries and did try to get together, but it just didn’t work out. A few weeks after I graduated from college, my family and I moved to another state. I haven’t been in touch with “Mary” since. I guess I had moved so many times by that point in my life that I had become accustomed to compartmentalizing my life.
Over the past few years I have tried to track “Mary” and some other friends down, without success. Recently I asked my high school reunion group if anyone knew where “Mary” and some other friends are now. I figured if I could find her, we could re=-connect. Mary is a brilliant, loving, vivacious, giving, compassionate, wonderful friend. I was excited at the prospect of filling in the gaps.
I ask your prayers for Mary and her parents and sister. I found out this week that as it turns out that less than 10 years after I moved away, Mary committed suicide~she was only 30 years old. It breaks my heart to think of what painful things may have been going on in her life and in her heart to brought her to that decision. It does not fit with the girl I knew. It breaks my heart to consider that we who knew her and loved her were not there for her when we needed her. To consider that she had been in pain for many years makes me wish that I could have gathered her up and helped her heal. I regret the years of non-contact I had, and that I cannot ever have time with her on earth. It brings me comfort to consider that my dad was there to meet her at the pearly gates, and with a hug and laughter, hold the door open for her~just to see her laughingly protest.course, I pray she is at peace. I cannot believe that she is gone. As far as which of them would hold the gate open, though, my vision is backwards. Her death preceded my dad’s by more than 2 decades. How great their laughter would be if she held the gate open for him, instead.
She was such a compassionate, outspoken, loving woman. I cherish more than ever the wonderful and heartwarming times she had with my family and the hours of talks she and I shared. I will always remember her laugh, her smile, her brilliant insights, her views, her kindness. I pray that in her final moments she found peace and eternal life. I pray for those who knew her and loved her that will always miss her. I am grateful that I had the gift of her friendship.
I am more dedicated than ever to try to stay connected to people. I hope to catch up with your blogs next weekend. That is the best I can do with the next week. But know this: you are loved; you are not alone; you matter; your life matters; your absence would leave a gap that cannot be filled by anyone but you. Reach out folks……we need to lift each other up. Let us all grow old together, okay?