I got an email a few days ago from my friend, Dorie, whom I have not heard from for more than a year. The subject line read, Absolutely!!!
She was responding to a thank you card I had mailed after our last luncheon, probably unearthed on her desk, while doing her annual guilt-driven clean-up. Dorie is a painter and designer. She also creates unique handbags and whimsical mittens. Her spirit is fresh and optimistic, as she divides her time between art, grand-children and caring for a husband with Alzheimer’s.
I had requested we meet again for lunch, soon. The word ‘soon’ being relative in her busy world. I searched my emails to see if I had written her recently and forgotten. Then, I remembered last year’s thank you note. I imagined my card being lovingly read and discarded on her craft table, slipping with the best of intentions below new fabric samples, buttons, shimmering yarns and products that didn’t meet her standards. She emailed her reply like I’d sent the card in yesterday’s mail; as if no time had gone by at all.
Absolutely!!! Karen Dear Friend, let’s meet for lunch, for coffee or everything. Getting together with you is an enormous treat. I miss you. Then she went on to say that a friend of hers had died recently so she was waking up to the value of friendships and wanting to keep in touch.
Ah yes. Death ~ nature’s wake-up call.
I was a new bride in my twenties when I had a similar experience. An older woman helped us find our first house in Circleville, Ohio, home of the pumpkin festival… we won’t go down that road. I wanted to have her to dinner as a thank you gesture and to deepen our connection into friendship, but not until the house was perfect. I thought about her often, but the bedroom needed paint. I wanted to replace the sofa. The house needed to be just so when she came, so she could ooh and aah, in appreciation of all we’d done. A year had slipped by before I learned she died.
Suddenly, it all felt very shallow; the rugs, the paint, the dust in the corners, all just stuff. I had missed her without knowing, as I preformed my vain attempts at perfection. She was a ship leaving the shore of my life with treasures of spirit I would never see again. A hard lesson, but a valuable one. I wish I had sent her a letter, or better yet, knocked on her door. I wish I had said, Absolutely!!! Dear lady, Come over for lunch, for coffee or everything. Getting together with you is an enormous treat. I would miss you if you were not here.
written August 14, 2008