Sometimes we can fix things, a recipe gone wrong, a cake mix that just doesn’t cut it. Other things, we just can’t, a life snuffed out before I had a chance to reconnect, a friend slipping away too quickly.
Last Saturday, exactly one week ago, I learned that my friend, Claire, had passed away. What? She was only 61! I knew she had had some trouble walking a couple years back, and I meant to call and stop over with some goodies, but, like a lot of us, life intervened. I didn’t mean to be so busy. Some days it’s amazing that I’m still upright, much less calling in on a friend.
What kind of friend does that? The road to hell is paved with good intentions, right? Darn! I really messed that one up! Now, there is no chance to call on her again. I can still talk to her, but she won’t answer me with her warm chuckle. She won’t ever come by “in five minutes” to help me hang shelves; she won’t share a glass of tea with me; she won’t be there to see my girls head out into the world; she won’t even be there to see her own daughter go. How did I become so immersed in my own world that I failed to see that Claire needed me?
She was the friend who wanted to remain anonymous (but I am good at solving mysteries!) that, when she heard from Santa that I needed my piano tuned, hired someone to do it so that I could play Christmas carols with my daughters the year after I kicked my ex-husband out and money was super tight. Yeah. Claire was like that. She was an environmental warrior who had the motto of “reduce, reuse, recycle” and even wrote articles for the local paper about conservatism. She was the one who was at the park on the fifth of July, separating the trash from the recyclables after the fireworks, fun, and games were over. She cared that much!
Yes, she had lots of family. Yes, they were all there and got to say good-bye. Because of my self-centeredness I was not there. Bone cancer was too quick. I will have to live with that. Someday I may be able to forgive myself. Claire, I’m sure, already has.
What is the point of my musings? Life is precious and short! One week after I learned of Claire’s death, we sung her funeral Mass and buried her. One week. And now all I’m left with are memories.
So, my dear friends, I want to say that I love you and cherish you. For those who I know in person, please stay in touch. It is so important! For those who I only know virtually, please comment and let me know what is going on in your lives. I really do care and I will do my best to be a better friend. I hope you will too with all of your friends.