July 13, 2011
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
I have always been committed to staying in touch with my friends and some acquaintances. It has not been an easy task and sometimes I let my active life get in the way. I do my best to write handwritten letters and notes, send cards when prompted to, write e-mails, or make phone calls. I don’t make phone calls just to chat, except with a high school friend in Santa Rosa, who does not use e-mail so I’ll call once her once in awhile. I know one thing for sure if I don’t stay in touch with her, she doesn’t stay in touch with me.
I have a hard time understanding what goes on….but I do know that a lot of people do not take the initiative to stay in touch. So I strongly recommend everyone make an effort to reach out, no matter what. I even think that Facebook is better than nothing. It’s a way to connect and reconnect. Many people have found old friends on Facebook and were delighted to make the connection.
About three months ago I realized that it had been awhile since I was in contact with a dear friend of over 20 years, who was confined to her home. She was very active in her 80’s, she was able to drive until her eyes betrayed her. She developed an eye condition that forced her to stop driving, playing golf and reading.
She was 92 in January. Her family hired a care taker……
I just remembered one of the last times I saw her before she was bedridden, I decided to bring her her favorite lunch of turkey on a croissant. She loved Tom Jones so the caretaker put on one of his records. The caretaker told me that she and my friend would dance around the living room after lunch. So I got up and started dancing and sure enough here came my friend, walker and all and the three of us danced and giggled through one song.
I did not know this but, shortly after we danced together she slowly but surely deteriorated and became bed ridden. When I finally called to let her know I wanted to come see her, her caretaker told me she no longer wanted to see anyone. She also told me that she had asked her to call me personally and tell me not to come anymore. I was devastated.
Then I was led to write a note to her son. He called me and said, “Anne you come on over no matter what she says.” He went on to tell me he would talk with her and let her know how important it was for me to be able to visit her.
So I started visiting weekly.The first time I visited her I told her I knew she did not want me to come. I told her that there’s no way I’d stay away. I reminded her that I could be a rebel and most always did exactly what I wanted to do. That made her grin from ear to ear.What a gift! She knew I was a feisty woman. This was a trait we both shared. Always loving and kind but feisty.
I was able to tell her numerous times how much I loved her. She would smile and say I love you too. We or…. I should say…. I talked about all the things we enjoyed together. Sometimes I could tell she wanted me to be quiet. One time she said to me, “Why are you asking me so many questions?” I became more sensitive to her needs and the last couple of times I was there I let her know I was there and that I just wanted to sit with her and pray for her. The last time I saw her was on Wednesday, July 6, last week.
She passed away on Monday, July 11, 2011 in the arms of her son while her caretaker held her hand. I am so grateful I made the effort to continue seeing her and I’m sure she appreciated it a lot.
Please think about this….I don’t care how old you are, it’s never to late to make changes. Do whatever you are led to do for those people who were and or still are important to you. Those people you’ve shared your life with over the years. Reach out and see what happens. It’s a joyful way to be truly alive.
May your feet walk in holiness and your steps be ordered by your Maker. May your hands be tender and helping, blessing those in need. May your heart be humble and receptive to one another. And…may you be open to guidance and trust your inner knowing.