Friendship comes in many forms—family, pets, people we know, and people we used to know. Losing friends is hard but the natural way of things. Friends move away physically, mentally, or emotionally. Friends grow apart. Friends pass away.
I lost two friends this week.
My Siamese cat, Emily, lived with me for 14 years and, yesterday, I had her put down. She had been ill for some time and it was best for her, and for me as well. My house feels so very empty.
This morning, I learned that an old friend from college passed away a few days ago. We were best friends back then and we brought out the best, and sometimes the worst, in each other. We both drifted away over the years. Maybe because I thought she made crazy life choices and I’m pretty sure she thought I was a stick-in-the-mud.
She dated a friend of mine in college. One of the kindest, most honorable people I’ve ever known. She dumped him for another guy. I chalked it up to immaturity. We were still friends but, looking back, maybe that was the beginning of the drift.
After a while, she married the new guy and settled into what seemed to be the perfect life. A few years later, though, she left him. I knew what happened, the event that finally drove them apart, but can remember trying to figure out what was at the heart of what went wrong for them and I couldn’t so I chalked it up to selfishness. We were still friends but drifting further and further away.
A few years later, she reconnected with my friend from college. They got married and had a couple of kids and I was very happy for both of them. He’d won back the girl he loved and she seemed to be at peace with herself and very happy. She adored being a mom. She loved her children and would move the world for them. The marriage, unfortunately, didn’t last. I asked her why she left and she said she needed passion in her life. I chalked that one up to pure stupidity. I just didn’t understand.
A bit later on, she married and had a third child and seemed to finally be really happy. We drifted further apart, however, and over time just lost touch completely. I’d think of her from time to time and wonder whatever happened to her. If they were still together, how her kids were doing, where she ended up living? The usual kind of things we all wonder about old friends that have drifted away.
A few years ago, she found me on Facebook and we reconnected. From her Facebook posts, I learned that she was not well and that her marriage was in trouble. We made plans to get together and, when I visited her, we spent a couple of hours sharing our lives since we’d last talked, some fifteen years earlier. I’m glad that we had that time together. It was the last time I saw her.
Since that visit, though, we kept track of each other on Facebook and that’s how I found out this morning that she had passed. We hadn’t been close friends in many, many years but it still breaks my heart that she’s gone. That her children have lost their mother.
Back when we were close friends, I would tell her ridiculous stories just to hear her laugh. I loved the way she laughed. She was one of the most vibrant, alive people I’ve ever known. She was intelligent, capable, curious, creative, adventurous, free-spirited, exuberant, and she loved her children, always.
She had a passion for life that I will never fully understand but maybe I’m beginning to.
She was full to the brim with passion and I will miss her, always.