Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The value of long friendships

I met P in 1988; I was married to my first husband then, and my kids were five and seven. She and I connected immediately and became very close friends. She was there with me through all sorts of major life events, good and bad, and she’s said I did the same for her.

We drifted apart in the mid-90s, partly because I wasn’t in a good place and also I moved from Lawrence to Kansas City. But a few years ago, she found me on Facebook and we reconnected. She doesn’t live all that close by any more (it’s a three-hour drive, much of it on two lane roads). Saturday she got married and I was there.

I was very nearly late, which always stresses me out inordinately, so I was a little anxious as I slipped into a pew in the back of the church. Then a door behind me and to my right opened, and I caught a glimpse of her dress—nothing but a flash of fabric—and to my surprise, I immediately started crying.

Now I am not a crier. Yes, I have feelings, but generally speaking I don’t express them with tears. I teared up at my own wedding just once, not at all at my younger son’s wedding and once at my older son’s wedding. Tears aren’t my normal way of expressing my feelings. But Saturday was different.

And she cried too. To be honest, I knew she would cry (she is a crier); what got me was that she cried because she saw me.

I had a lot of time to think over all of that the drive home and I think I know why we both cried. You don’t have that deep of a friendship and not carry the love forward even if the daily contact is no longer there. You can’t have the kind of shared experiences we did and not have that kind of emotional response.

Before I left the reception Saturday night, I hugged her and told her that I had never stopped loving her. I wish we lived a little closer to each other, but I’m so glad to have reconnected with her and so very glad she wanted me there at her wedding.