Do we start living now ? or Now ? Or Now ?


nature-bird in flight

I found out tonight a friend died. Do I use the term friend loosely ?  No, he wasn’t someone I called or had lengthy discussions with on a regular basis. Or got together with often.

He wasn’t someone I just said hello to and made small talk with either. I think there are hierarchies of friendships. Your closest inner circle, the top tier, is intimate and loving. They wouldn’t think twice about coming to your aid or helping. These are the ones where words are not even necessary.

The second tier, are those you still talk and get together with often and share things, but that group wouldn’t be the first you would pick up the phone to call if in trouble. Although.. you probably could.

Then there’s everyone in between. Mostly seen in group events. A hug, a warm hello, a cup of coffee to catch up. You’re happy to see them and wonder why you don’t do it more often. But you somehow don’t, because they’re not always on the top of your radar list

Then come the acquaintances. They’re the casual hello, small talk, catch up on life, but not giving away too much. Never divulging large issues, because they have no place there.

Joel was probably a third tier friend. Someone I enjoyed talking with when I saw him. Someone who was honest. We could speak about how we felt with no reservation. We always gave each other a hug and he had a warm heart.

Last year, afer he was diagnosed with stomach cancer, I asked him what the course of plan was. The prognosis ?  “No matter what they do,” he said, “it’s not good.” Then he turned to me, with a heartfelt expression and said, “You know, what I feel worst about is my son. I don’t want to leave him without a father.” He was four years old at that time. Five now. I heard him and said, “Then you give him everything you have now. None of us know about tomorrow.” Although his tomorrow was a lot more uncertain than mine, on paper anyway
When I saw one of his closest friends, I asked him how he was doing. He looked down at me (He’s tall, about 6’2 and I’m not), he said, “I’m devastated.”

Joel and I saw each other frequently enough over the course of this past year. I would sit down next to him, ask how he was doing and he would tell me. All the while, I observed the healthy color of his skin turn ashen, that pasty look of illness, as he got thinner around the waist. But I knew.. I had seen this condition before. The look of death. The one that slowly creeps in, thinking it’s subtle, thinking that no one will suspect. But much like a sixth sense, or perhaps a genetic intuition, we know. Even if we don’t on a conscious level, we know. We have the instinct for it.
Not one to lose hope, during times of difficulties, a friend of mine would always say, “You never give up. Where there is breath, there is hope.” I don’t think he ever gave up. I think he held on as long as he could.

When I found out he had passed, I could see his face in the dim light and us sitting  at a table in the back of the room. He would be  talking intimately, about life and death and everything in between. I know his son knew how much Joel loved him. Hopefully, he’ll grow up feeling full in his heart from that.

I came home and cried. It’s him, my other friend’s son who died about a month ago unexpectantly, three dogs, from three different friends, who had to put them down this past month. Too much death. Too much loss. It’s painful losing people and pets you love.

It keeps me moving in a direction, of wanting to let go of everything I am hanging on to. Not to get trapped into the illusion of security. or even worse, thinking  I’ll live forever, because I won’t. And even more, while I am alive, to remember to live. Because it’s so easy not to. It’s so easy to get stuck in a comfort zone and stay there. I hope I have learned through his death and of others, how being alive means to be alive, not rest at the bottom, like sediment. Not observe, but participate. Not allow status quo to dominate. 

So, the conversations I had with my friend about his dying, his child, life ? That’s not light. You don’t share that with just anyone. It requires a certain amount of trust to allow that vulnerability to be shown. I asked my good friend, the one who said he was devastated, how he was doing. They were so close. “Even more devastated now. You know, he really wanted to be a father. A good one and he was. God knows, the world needs more good fathers.” That they do, I thought.
I will miss him. I hope he sees the light and love on the other side and is at peace. I hope he has box seats in the front row, to watch his son grow up. Thank you dear friend,  for gracing my life, even for the short time you did. You will be remembered. Of that I am sure.

 

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About aboomersvoice

First and foremost, I'm a baby boomer and damn proud of it. The ones reading this post survived. Some didn't..We are the generation that crashed through barriers, broke through the norm and made our own rules. We paved the way for others to follow their bliss. One of the largest breakthroughs was probably equal rights and opportunities for women. Thank you Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan. We burned our bras, well, most of us did. We marched against politics we didn't believe in, staged protests not knowing we could easily be silenced by a bullet, experimented with drugs, meditation and guru's. We traveled with backpacks across the country and throughout the world..We had a voice. We had a choice. We had a mission. We had freedom and we were united. I am a writer, traveler, explorer, observer and participant in life. I am part of the expansion of baby boomers who still believe in the original message of peace and love. Take this journey.with me. Who knows where it will take us next ?
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17 Responses to Do we start living now ? or Now ? Or Now ?

  1. Sunshine says:

    your words…”the illusion of security” is definitely words to ponder and search within ourselves how attached we are to this illusion. thank you for reminding us to live life now for we do not know how much time we will be given. well done. ♥

    Like

  2. This was a very hearttfelt and moving post…thank you.
    I also love what you say about yourself – yes, yes, yes… our generation stepped out into the unknown, to re-shape our world… we may not have managed it, but we never stopped trying….

    Like

  3. imogen88 says:

    A great tribute, Sandie.

    Like

  4. rebecca says:

    Death makes us feel and see in a different way. My sympathies are with you. I know it can be difficult.

    Like

  5. Love and hugs to you from New Orleans, my friend!

    Like

  6. Mary says:

    Beautiful, raw and so true. Thanks xxx

    Like

  7. ashadeofpen says:

    Wow…the emotions are very raw…the loss of life is hard to bear and yet we have to go on…

    Like

  8. Leena says:

    So eloquent …. thanks for sharing and being so vulnerable. Let’s live everyday as though it were our last …..

    Like

    • Leena,
      You and I have had deep, long discussions on living everyday to the utmost and have seen our share of loss. We all need to start now. Life is not something you put off or live on the sidelines. I love you

      Like

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