Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mourning the Loss of an Old Friend

My college friend, Rachel, called today baring bad news: another college friend, Rusty, tragically (and unexpectedly) passed away last week. (In fact, his murder was so tragic it was covered on the Today show.) Rusty and I met as college freshmen. Throughout our four years at Indiana University, our friendship deepened and I hold many fond memories of all our time together. After college, post graduate schooling, growing families, and physical distance eroded our friendship. In fact, the last time I remember seeing him was nearly four years ago. We met back in Bloomington and shared a deli lunch and lots of laughs.

The last four years, I've thought about him off and on. I imagined he was extremely successful, happily married, and a wonderful dad. I've often thought, "I really need to...call/facebook/email." But, then something happens, and I don't. Many thoughts flew through my mind upon hearing the news, but none more than, "How did I let all the time get away. I should have called."

The last decade has whizzed by, and my friendships have taken the biggest hit. It's been a challenge to maintain relationships from the past, and physical distance is an additional hurdle.

If there is a blessing in this situation, it's that I talked to two dear college friends (Rachel and Susan) by telephone today. I really needed to...vacuum, clean, cook, and on and on. But, I flipped on the TV for the kids (a midday treat), and made time for two friendships I truly treasure and haven't prioritized enough. Our conversations have certainly changed, with children dominated the discussion over Friday night plans, but my friends have stayed the same: compassionate, loyal, and genuine.

I hope Rusty's death becomes a wake-up call for me: old friendships should be treasured, nurtured, and prioritized. I wish I had learned that lesson a little sooner.


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