Drew and I attended the funeral of a friend this morning. Although, I should clarify: neither of us had seen or spoken to this friend in years. Probably more than 7-8 years.
We sat in the far back dark corner. We knew many faces there. But we chose to remain quiet and unseen. I questioned myself on this constantly throughout the service. “Was it because we felt immense guilt over the lack of communication over the years?” “Was it because we hadn’t been home in so long, and we’d lost touch with so many, that we no longer felt that we could claim friendship?”
Drew and I held hands, and cried, hysterically and silently. Neither of us wanted to make noise.
I also sat there really digging into the recesses of my memory, trying to pull out good times we’d had with this friend. I knew there were many memories hiding in there, I just didn’t know how to get them to the surface.
You see, after all the trauma, I have this incredible knack for storing it ALL away. I manage to shut myself down, compartmentalize everything, and move on. Sadly, this incudes the good, and the bad.
I sat here thinking for a long tome this afternoon: “Why have I allowed SO many friendships fade and fall away?” “Why am I SO careless about who I remain not only in touch with, but put intense effort into cultivating meaningful lifelong friendships with?”
I have my husband, and my children. My family, and my friends. I have my best friends, who I don’t work my hardest at remaining in touch with, but who know my love is real for them. I have my close friends whom I see often. I have my work friends who I spend the most amount of time with. But my old friends?? I couldn’t even begin to count the number of people I’ve met, loved, and created relationships with, and eventually allowed to slip away. It’s not even that they were not important; it’s just that they weren’t right there.
To all those I’ve known and loved, who have known and loved me: let us not continue life without being in one another’s. To my dearest friends from elementary school, middle school. To the kids from the neighborhood we grew up in. To my highschool peeps, to my college peeps, and to my fellow military wives. PLEASE reach out! I’m going to go through the 700+ friends on my Facebook this week, and message those I feel the need to reach out to. Those who I haven’t spoken to in far too long, who may have been hurt or confused by my lack of presence in their lives at some point.
I urge you all to do the same. Please do not wait until you’re sitting in the dark parlor of a funeral home, watching the mother of one of your friends, and wondering “Where was I? Why wasn’t I present??”
And to Jake. You sweet amazing kid. I remember bits and pieces. High school years were fun, and the years following were full of partying and making the best of our youth. We made mistakes, we lost touch, but we never thought we wouldn’t have another opportunity.
I remember that we watched one another go through some shitty relationships, even considered one between us, which obviously didn’t work. We laughed, and partied, and had the time of our lives together. We allowed our feelings to get away from us and prevent us from continuing what had always been a beautiful relationship.
We grew, and went separate ways (REALLY went our separate ways lol, seeing as Drew and I left NY and went all the way to AZ) but we always remained Facebook friends, desperately trying to remain aware of one another’s lives.
Jake, I wish to God I known who you’d dated, where you lived, who you hung out with. I wish you’d met Drew’s babies and mine. You would have sat back and laughed and reminisced about the old days, and how crazy it was that we even had kids, let alone lived through our craziness long enough to start a family. I wish we’d invited you out here to chill and enjoy our lives with us.
I suppose I’ll be wishing for the rest of my days. It’ll be an intense regret Drew and I live with forever. But I promise you bud, we won’t let it stop us from doing better with others, making sure we never sit at another’s funeral with the same regrets and guilt. We love you kid.