had my fiftieth high school reunion a while back. I still think on the faces,
some with smiles, some with tears, but all happy to be together for what might
possibly be the last time. There was a memorial table, with pictures and names,
of the classmates that have gone ahead, wherever that is. And it makes you
think, and you wonder about the randomness, why you’re still here and they’re
not. And though you never thought about it before, you wonder what their lives
were like. You can hear about them, but not in their words, from their mouths.
You don’t see someone for fifty years, eventually you stop thinking about them, and don’t miss them much. You might not have been close then, but still, you counted them as friends, you had a common bond. It’s only when you learn that they are no longer with us, and realize that fifty years has become forever, you find that the choice, if ever there was one, has been taken from you. That’s when you begin to understand mortality. That’s when you know that the last time you saw them was the last time you would ever see them. They suddenly become more real to you than when they were alive.
It’s then that you find friendship is truly something to treasure. It strengthens your resolve to never miss an opportunity to be with them, together, celebrating just being here. The hardest promises to keep are the ones you make to yourself, for there’s no one else to hold you accountable. This I promise to myself: As long as I am able, as long as I walk and breathe, and know who I am, I will not forsake my friends. I will not miss an opportunity to tell them how much I appreciate and love them. I’ll keep them here, safe in my heart.