Monday, August 16, 2010

Saying Goodbye to a friend

Today I lost someone very special to me. I lost a very good friend.

He didn’t die, or fall into a coma. We didn’t have a huge fight that we can get over and make up in a few years.

Mike and I became good friends in high school. I wasn’t one of those people who had tons of friends, instead the opposite was true, and I had several close friends. We were all more or less friends, my best friend, Amber, wasn’t as social as Mike was, so they were interested in different things and often got me out of my comfort zone and into doing things that I wouldn’t have normally done.

Mike was adventurous, and introduced me to mini van surfing, and made the years in high school after we joined forces fun, and exciting. He probably got me involved in things that I would have never done, otherwise, like going to the prom.

We graduated high school, and because we were two different people, who two different dreams and plans for our futures, went out into the world to make our mark and find our place. Mike’s world led him to the Air Force Academy, and then after graduation into the Air Force. He has seen things and experienced things that I can’t begin to fathom, and he has seen places that I would love too. We haven’t always maintained consistent contact during the years, often because the government wouldn’t allow it. We have managed to actually see each other only a handful of times since we graduated high school.

My life involved, school and working full time, getting married at 20 and starting a new chapter of my life being a wife. School got put on the back burner, as work became a necessity. We tried to start our family, while Mike has taken a weekend to go to Paris; we were doing laundry and repairing a gutter.

We have changed. Our lives have changed. We have both seen and experienced things that the other hasn’t, and we have both had things happen that we hope the other doesn’t have to suffer through. Such as Mike’s cancer diagnosis and my infertility. Yet, without realizing it, those experiences, those places, those choices have made us the people we are today.

Sure, we were both the underdog in high school, more nerdy and geeky than cool and popular. We were fine with that, and we swore that we would leave that school and go out and be someone. Am I were I wanted to be when I graduated high school? Absolutely not. If you would have told me that this is where I would be at when I turned 30, I would have laughed at you. I would have said that you were nuts. Mike, he is exactly where he wanted to be. Am I jealous? Absolutely. Who wouldn’t be jealous of all the places that he has been too and seen? Paris, Germany, Ireland, fabulous places in the US. I would love to see them, and I’m jealous that he had the courage to see his dreams through.

But then again, I’m not that jealous.
I like my life now. Oh sure, I wouldn’t recommend going back to school at 30, and getting married at 20; but I wouldn’t change a thing. Even though it means that someone who I considered on of my very, very best friends is a complete stranger to me.

We made different choices, and they brought us both where we are today.

So while losing him is hard, I’m not grieving for the person that he is today, because that person is a stranger to me. I’m grieving for the person that I remember him being, and the part that he played in my life. My only hope is that no matter what he does, or where he is, that he can look back and think of all the good times we had in high school, and that anytime he sees a mini-van that he thinks of me, and just for split second wishes he was 17 again.

~In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. ~Albert Schweitzer

~One's friends are that part of the human race with which one can be human. ~George Santayana

~Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival. ~C.S. Lewis

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