My good friend Perry died today. It wasn't expected. I am so sad, sad, sad, and angry. Angry because I didn't get a chance to say goodbye. What's even more upsetting is that 3 days ago, I sent myself an email reminding me to call a few people I haven't spoken to in a couple of months. I got to a few, but not Perry. Why is it that we remember to call people when we are in the shower, or at the movies, or when it's 10:30 at night?
This is the second time something like this has happened to me. A couple of years ago, the husband of a coworker called to tell me that his wife, my friend, had died. I had just spoken to her in April and all was well, she was in remission. This phone call came at the end of May. I wanted to ask why he hadn't called me sooner, like when he knew she was dying? I was so sad, sad, sad, and angry. Angry because I didn't get to say goodbye. Looking back, I can see that during her last weeks, calling Bobbie was probably the farthest thing from their minds, but how I wish they had. I went to the funeral to say goodbye, but I have to admit, it made me feel no better.
In the past couple of years, I've really tried to stay in touch with people without letting too much time slip by. This needing to stay connected started about three years ago when weeks after the fact, I learned that a friend's father had died. It was around Thanksgiving -- when everyone was busy getting ready to travel or getting ready to cook that big meal for incoming family and out-of-towners. Life gets hectic and we focus on ourselves and our needs. Before we know it, weeks have gone by. And, I don't mean keeping in touch with just out of town friends, I mean the friends around the corner or even next door. Sometimes, weeks can go by without my speaking or even seeing my neighbors.
There are a number of friends of mine who I speak to or see maybe twice a year. It seems, in these relationships, I am responsible for calling or initiating an email. Years ago, I wondered if they still wanted to be my friend. Yet whenever I call, they are always happy to talk and it feels like no time has gone by. Sometimes I resent my job as caller and think, if they are my friend, they will call me. I've tried, on occasion, to wait out their calls, but soon, I begin to worry and end up calling them. It's not like we haven't talked about this, my non-caller friends and me, we have. There are no hard feelings; we understand each other. I accept my "job" and realize that we are mutually happy just to be connecting and sharing.
I guess that's what having great friends is all about. The give and take is mutual, but the contributions are different. Perry was a wonderful, kind and generous man, a master carpenter, and a sweet, tender-hearted friend. My old house, with new moldings that he matched up to the 200 year old ones, the 3 room master suite he built with his son during their summer break, the master bed that he copied from a magazine photo I gave him, the walls that no longer weep mold, the beautifully crafted shelves and furniture, and the venison he shared with us after his hunting weekends are all a testament to this wonderful man and his talents. However, his talented hands couldn't compare to the abundance of his heart. Perry was an angel, and if he treated all his clients and friends the way he treated me and my family, then they were as blessed as I.
So hear me out my friends, I will continue to call and check in because I don't want to ever have to say again --- I was sad, sad, sad, and angry because I didn't get a chance to say goodbye.
Quote of the Day: "Revenge has no more quenching effect on emotions than salt water has on thirst" Walter Weckler
13 hours ago