last night, i found out that a high school friend of mine passed away. i received a message informing me that she had been in a car accident and did not survive. i was crushed. although we had not kept in touch after high school, i would still run into her on occassion when i went home for family visits and it was always a pleasure.
i began to think back to our days in track when we hurdled together, and performing routines in flag corps. the sleep overs and the car washes, riding around in her classic cherry red volkswagon rabbit convertible, the silly jokes and fun times and i was genuinely hurt. i thumbed through my high school year book reading her message to me and thinking “how horrible to lose someone so young.” i tried to find the words to offer my condolences to her family, her father -my hurdle coach, her sister who i was on student council with. i wished that her two young daughters wouldn’t have to grow up without their mother.
i called my father, my sisters, my best friend and my mother to inform them of the sad news. i trolled the local newspaper to see if there was a listing for when the services would be held, and looked up a florist so that i could have an arrangement sent to her family first thing in the morning. i prayed for strength for her family, i wondered how it must feel for a parent to bury their child. it was just not the natural order of things. i went to bed with a heavy heart.
today, i received a message informing me that it was not my close high school friend, but a high school acquaintance of the same name who had died in the car accident. i have to say that i felt a mixture of relief and renewed saddness. was it wrong for me to feel that way? a mother still lost her child. she was still somebody’s sister, somebody’s friend. in 24 hours, i had gone through the cycle of loss and in finding out that it was due to a case of mistaken identities, i was still somewhat altered.
it made me think. of the friends and family whom i love that i try my best to reach out to on regular basis. it made me wonder. if for 24 hours i thought that any of them were dead, would i feel regret? would i cry for the things i should have done? for the words i should have spoken? for the moments i could have shared? i came to the conclusion that i would not.
there is not a friend i hold dear who does not know that i love them. i take advantage of every opportunity to let them know that they matter and that having them in my life is a blessing. my 24 hour lesson: many things in this world exist solely to distract us from what truly matters. focus on what’s real.
in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make.