Four friend day…

Saying goodbye to family will be tearful.  We will hug.  We will kiss.  Sobs will catch in our throats.  No doubt. We will see one another, each week on Skype, communicate through email and see their faces in photos on Facebook.  They will be “with us” in our hearts and minds each day, counting down the days until they come to visit us from afar.  This we know for sure.

Saying goodbye to friends will be different. We all dream that once a friend, a friend forever.  Not the case.  It’s no one’s fault.  It’s nature which intended us to gather around our core family for love, support and companionship. 

In the wild, animals form a family group welcoming “outsiders” of their species. In humans, we welcome “outsiders” on our own terms:  knock before you enter, respects their family times, don’t call during dinner, don’t expect to be together on holidays.  In essence, make an appointment to see one another.  That’s a learned behavior in our human society, not a part of our nature.

Thus, as we prepare to go away, we do so with this certainty:  we will see our family again, we may not see our friends. It’s a reality.  It still hurts.

Yesterday, in one single day, a dear friend Chere, an amazing friend, came for a low-carb, gluten- -free breakfast. With many common interests and years as friends, we simply couldn’t get enough of one another; sharing, smiling and laughing.  

When she was leaving, I hesitated, “Will I see you before we go,” I asked.  

She squeezed my hand while we hugged, “Of course.  I’ll be back several times before you go.”  I wanted to believe this.  I wasn’t sure.

Second friend of the day, our delightful next door neighbor Nelleke, from whom we’ll be renting her home in Majorca, Spain next May. Most days, she and I walk the neighborhood with her little white Westie, Max, chatting on endlessly about our dreams, our hopes and our disappointments. She’s a strong and sturdy senior, a fitness aficionado, like me and young for her age.  She’s leaving today for a week to visit family.  I will now know what it is like without her. 

Later in the day, the third friend of the day, our precious neighbor Sue, showed up at our door for happy hour, staying until 9:00 pm, when we walked her home, bellies full, still giggling over our enjoyable evening together, the three of us.  She lost her beloved husband and our friend Chip, whom I wrote about here on June 1, 2012. I was given the honor of speaking about him at his memorial service only a month ago.  We miss him.  We will miss her.

As we walked Sue home at a little after 9:00 pm, reveling in the starry night sky, so bright away from the city lights, we ran into our friend Jamie, another amazing neighbor and friend, stopping to chat.  Only days ago, she discovered that her little dog Bella, has cancer.  I was reminded of losing our Willie such a short time ago and can only hope that little Bella experiences a better outcome. I will miss Jamie and her family.

More friends will come to visit, to say goodbye before we go.  Each time I will wonder, will we see them again, before we go, 74 days from today?  Will they email?  Will they stay in touch? Will they read this blog from time to time for an update on where we are, perhaps considering a visit?  

Friends have  moved away and we have stayed in touch.  My friend Carol, a friend for 27 years, an airline pilot, moved away over 25 years ago. We text, we email, we visit one another, we talk on the phone never losing touch.  

There are more all over the country that don’t let it slip away, that are still “part of the pack” kind of friends.  Then there are the friends with whom we talked with almost every day, that left, never to return, never to talk, never to write.  Suddenly, they appear on Facebook.  We smile.  We are happy to “see” them again, not angry we lost touch.  In most cases, we both failed to stay in touch.

It’s all a part of this life we live.  We love, we lose.  We lose, we rediscover. Whichever way it goes, we accept it, still loving them, still holding on to the memories. This, dear friends, we know for sure.