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Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Yesterday I lost a friend. He was taken from this earth way too soon. He leaves a hole in many hearts. I have been reading FB posts expressing shock at his death, which came after a sudden illness. It caught so many by surprise. It’s both sad and comforting to read the posts which tell so many wonderful stories about him, many of which I didn’t know.

Many years ago, a year or so after my divorce, I decided that I was going to get out of the house and do something productive other than Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, and PTA. Amazingly, the day I expressed this to my shrink, I got a notice inviting me to a meeting of the Stanford Chicano/Latino Alumni Association of Southern California. The meeting was the coming weekend. I decided I was going. I had not been involved with the group previously but I had been on their mailing list for some time. This was my chance to spread my wings. So I went.

That was the start of so much for me. I reconnected with friends and with friends of friends. I not only got involved, as with everything I do, I jumped in with both feet and within the year I was the president of the group. Our monthly meetings were held at my house on weekends. One of the other people in this group was Carl. Carl had been a freshman when I graduated so I hadn’t known him then, although I did recognize him. He became a friend right away. He was supportive, funny, highly intelligent, opinionated but reflective, too. Carl was one who made us all think about a project from different angles. At that time, he drove a very fancy foreign sports car. When he came to our meetings, he was always the first one there and would park his car on the street right in front of my huge front window. My daughter, Tina, was about thirteen or fourteen at the time and she fell in love with that car. She would come to the window and stare at it. During our meetings, we could see her out the window, looking at the car. She was fascinated with it. She asked Carl questions about it. We all got a kick out of it, including Carl. He answered her questions and told her all sorts of information about the car. One day, he smiled at me and looked at my daughter and said that after our meeting, if it was okay with her mom, he would take her for a short ride in the car. She looked at me and asked if it was okay. I agreed, reminding her that she had a couple of things she should finish during our meeting if she wanted to go for that ride. After the meeting and post meeting socializing, she got to go for that ride. They were only gone for about ten minutes but when they returned, Tina was so excited! She talked about it for weeks. I thanked Carl that day and he said it was nothing. He was glad to do it. His eyes sparkled and his goatee smiled a shy, satisfied smile.

That was one of the many things I remember about Carl. He was always there to raise the spirits, support when he could, listen and make suggestions if appropriate. He raised the self-esteem of a young teenage girl when he took her for a ride in a fancy car. He gave substance to her interest in the car and made a dream come true for her with that ride. Carl made the world a better place from his chemical engineering job to his running group; from the alumni group to his Rotary Club. He never forgot where he came from. He never forgot his family, going back to Pueblo whenever he could. He never let anyone down. He gave all that he could.

He leaves the world a better place, although there are many holes left by his death.

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When I was in middle school, a new girl came to the school. Her name was Pattie and because we were seated alphabetically in most of our classes, we sat next to each other in the three or four classes we shared. We quickly became best friends. We both had siblings one year older than we were. Very soon I was going to her house and she was coming to mine. I was often invited to stay for dinner. Her mom and dad were both very welcoming and very nice to me and later, to my sisters. Her dad, in particular, was super. He was funny and engaged us in conversation. He gave us advice. He asked to see our grades and celebrated our good academics. I’ve often thought of him throughout the years. His daughter and I lost touch when we graduated from high school as we went to different schools and then I got married right after college graduation and moved away. When we got back in touch, through a high school reunion group on Facebook, I learned that her father had died. It made me sad and I thought that one day I might go look for his grave at the national cemetery where he’s buried which is a little bit off track when I go visit my mom in southern California.

Yesterday, on that same Facebook group, there was a conversation about some of the people in our classes that were either lost in combat or were veterans. A couple of people had gone to the cemeteries back home to visit some of the graves and posted pictures. I happened to mention that I had been thinking about my friend’s father. I had been thinking of him for several days. I wasn’t making it up. So almost instantly, I got a message from Miss Know It All who told me I was wrong. She said he was not killed while serving so I can’t honor him until November when we have Veteran’s Day. What?! I know the difference between the two holidays. I didn’t say I was honoring him or celebrating him because it was Memorial Day. I just said I had been thinking about him; just as others on the FB thread were talking about people we all know who were former military that we miss. The thread was not specific to Memorial Day.

At first, it made me mad. How dare she try to tell me who I can think of and when I can think of them. I almost answered her message in angrily. Instead, I just said “Well, I can still think of him. He was a terrific person.”  She answered that I could do that in November for Veteran’s Day just as she does for her father.  I chose to click off my phone and ignore her.

I will think of anyone I want to think of any time I want to think of them and for any reason. I’m not waiting to think of people only on specific days. I’m wondering if she really only thinks of her dad on Veteran’s Day! No one is going to tell me who, what, when, where, or why I should think of anyone. Or anything, for that matter.

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What do you do when someone dies and they are in you address book or contacts or Facebook feed?

I struggle with this all the time. I still won’t get rid of the address book that I used over thirty years ago when my brother died. His name and address and phone are in there and I can’t bring myself to get rid of it even though none of the addresses are any good.

And then there’s Facebook where my other brother’s name  pops up. And where my friend Lydia’s (who died in January) name, picture and comments keeps popping up in my Memories Feed.

When I was updating my old phone yesterday (my most recent phone died so I am resurrecting my previous phone) I came across phone numbers for my one of my brothers who died awhile back. And some of my friends who are no longer with us, Lydia, Sally, Dan, Jody, and some others. I couldn’t bring myself to delete them from my phone.

Of course, this means that I will keep seeing their names and pictures. Yes, I get sad when I see them and they aren’t here anymore. Sometimes I can’t keep myself from tearing up. I know that I should think of good times with them but that’s tough. I eventually do but the tears still come.

What do you do?

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Today I am reminded that a friendship is a friendship. It doesn’t matter if it is a “virtual” or real life friendship. The emotions and the attachments are the same. And when my friends hurt, I hurt.

I have a friend that I met online around 2006 on a site called Gather. Her moniker there was The Little Fluffy Cat. She was one of the most supportive, loving, friendly, and welcoming people I have ever met. Later, she and her family came to the Portland area on vacation and I got to spend a few hours with them. There was instant recognition and the feelings were as if we had always known each other in the real world.

She’s a very private person. Her name is Lydia. Last week, she allowed her sister to post on her Facebook page about her health issues. She had kept everything secret. If I understand it correctly, she has a problem with the “connectors” in the cerebellum, or blood vessels in the brain. Her sister told of how Lydia has been in the hospital since July when she underwent a couple of surgical procedures to solve the problem but then developed other complications which have caused some loss of brain function, mimicking a stroke but has not actually had a stroke. She has not been home since July, except for being allowed to go home for a weekend here and there. During the last weekend that she spent at home (Christmas weekend), she caught a cold which made her main health issues worse. Since then, she has become gravely ill and had to be resuscitated a few days ago then put into a medically induced coma. The doctors are out of options. They are stalling and hoping that they can solve some of the minor problems which might alleviate the major ones. She has asked her friends for prayers and a miracle because she’s not ready to die. She’s 57 years old. She has a 17 year old son and one that is 14.

My heart aches for her and her family. I have been praying for her. We used to say that one day we would get together and have a slumber party complete with pjs and talking/giggling all night. I want that chance for us to have that long sisterly talk. I want her to see her sons grow. I want her to hold her grandchildren in her arms. I want her to grow old with her husband who loves her so much and has not left her side in months. I want her to recover and live a long and happy life.

If you are a praying person, please hold Lydia up in prayer. Send her positive vibes…healing thoughts…anything that might help.

 

 

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weekendcoffeeshare

If we were having coffee, I would not be my usual upbeat self.  I’m in a sad and pensive mood.  Early yesterday evening, I learned of the death of a friend.  Her name was Sallie. We went to high school together and while I don’t remember her very well from high school (she was a year ahead of me), I got to be her friend over the past few years, through the Facebook group for graduated from my high school. We shared a background, a school, teachers, and friends. We had a few meals together on my way through her northern California town during my trips back and forth from Oregon. And, just last month, she asked me for a ride to our high school reunion so I stopped by and picked her up and we shared the 2 1/2 hour drive.  We talked. We laughed.  We vented.  It was so much fun.  Sallie was just getting back on her feet after being homeless for a year. She had found a home.  She was feeling great.  She had big plans for the future.  We talked of her coming to visit me.  We chatted on Facebook over the past month.  Then just a couple of days ago, she had a massive heart attack and now she’s gone.

If we were having coffee, I would talk about how this serves as a reminder that we just don’t know what is in store for us. We shouldn’t refrain from telling people we love them.  We shouldn’t put things off.  We should appreciate one another. We should grab every moment and make it count.  We should.  We might even do it for a few days then we’ll forget again.  Don’t forget.  Keep it fresh in your mind.  Live every moment.  Laugh often.  Love much.

If we were having coffee, I think I might just be cutting it short today.  Perhaps I’ll come back on Sunday with a proper coffee share but I think that’s all I’ve got for now.

#WeekendCoffeeShare is a weekly blog hop hosted by Diana at Part Time Monster.  Why not join us?  Click here for more.

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Two Plus One

When I was teaching I used to tell my students that for every complaint or negative thing they said or wrote about anything in class, they had to write two good things. It made them think about what they were going to say and if things were really that bad or were they just complaining.

Today, I am starting Two Plus One posts in which I will post two positives for every negative. I’ll probably do this once a week or so. If you feel so inclined, I invite you to join me by commenting with your own two plus one or with your own post on your blog.

First, the thing I really didn’t like about last week was that I went from not being able to sleep for more than an hour to needing to sleep hour upon hour and then feeling like I was dragging for the next few DAYS! My sleep cycle is all messed up, I guess.

Last week was a really busy week in a good way. There was the excitement of 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion (#1000Speak) where so many of us wrote blogs focusing on an aspect of compassion. The posts were, for the most part, uplifting, thought provoking, and informative. All of the momentum the movement gained from the beginning of planning in January to last Friday came to fruition and it was wonderful.

And the second positive thing is that I have been focusing on discovering new blogs since last November and I now have about four times as many followers to this blog and I have made some new friends in the process. The blogging community can be very supportive and I am enjoying being supportive to others that need encouragement and support right now. I am enjoying making new friends and reading blogs from all over the globe!

How about you?

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Lisa

Yesterday, while checking Facebook posts, I saw a post I had missed earlier. It was a post made in a group for people who graduated from my high school in the 70’s decade. It’s a nice way to keep in touch with some of the people I used to know and it also serves as a way to remember a lot about growing up and about the city I grew up and lived in until I went off to college.

It was a sad post. It told about the death of a friend; a friend I had not seen in many, many years but have thought of often and have even asked others about her. Lisa was my sister’s friend and a year older than me. When I went to high school, they had been there for a year and knew how to navigate the high school terrain. I didn’t have a lot of friends there. Sure, I knew half the people in ninth grade but it seemed that once we got to that stage, everyone went off in different directions, chasing their own interests and trying to fit in as part of the school’s social scene. That, added to the fact that I didn’t share a lot of classes with the people from my old school, left me without many close friends to “hang out” with. Lucky for me that my sister was there and she and her friends welcomed me into their social circle. Lisa was always kind to me, just like I belonged in the group. She never treated me like someone’s little sister that she had to put up with. We ate lunch together and walked to our lockers together. We sat together at lunch time, watching all the others in their own little groups. We met each other after school and walked home. We went to school dances together. We laughed. We teased each other. We protected each other from anyone who tried to hurt one of us and mostly, we had fun together.

Once ninth grade was over and I had found other groups to fit into and had busied myself with lots of after school activities and a job, I remained friends with that little group of my sister’s friends, the group that had been my lifeline that first year of high school, but I didn’t hang around with them very much anymore. I did see Lisa after school when we walked home and once my sister started driving we would give her rides to and from places. We were still friends. When she graduated a year before me, she got married right away and I was at her wedding. My sister went to college. I became busier than ever as I had a job, was very involved with school clubs and was the editor of the school newspaper. We lost touch with Lisa.

Through the years, we’ve heard bits and pieces about Lisa’s life but I hadn’t heard much about her in at least fifteen or twenty years, although I have asked people about her. No one seemed to know much as everyone had gone off to live their own lives over the years and it is just now, as most of us are reaching the late 50’s and early 60’s that we are all coming back together, seeking each other out.

And so, when I read Lisa’s name on the updated “Fallen Friends” list yesterday, my heart skipped a beat and tears found their way out of my eyes. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about her being gone. It may sound strange to some people that I would react this way to news of her death. Afterall, she wasn’t a part of my daily life. It’s not like I saw her or even talked to her recenty. But she is a part of my life. She was important to the person that I was and the person that I am now. And I suppose it’s a reminder that my turn on that Fallen Friends list might be coming up sooner than later. I think too, that it is sad to me because it signifies a closed door. I won’t be able to get in touch with Lisa or talk to her ever again. No matter how many times I ask people or how many searches I run on the internet, I won’t be seeing her again. The door has closed.

I know it should be a reminder to run out and knock on doors that will open and look up other people, other old friends, before more doors are permanently closed. And I will do that. But for now, for today, and probably for a few days to come, I’ll think of Lisa and her bright smile that welcomed me into the group that first year of high school. I’ll think of Lisa and her groom as they danced at their wedding. And every time I hear that old song, Daddy’s Home, I’ll remember how special it was to Lisa. And I’ll miss those days when times were simpler and our futures were bright.

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