Why is it that we think we have way more time than we do? And what is it about those childhood friends?
It has been said that: “The memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul.” (The Wonder Years).
Mary Jo Putney said something similar: “What one loves in childhood stays in the heart forever.”
We all have memories we carry in our hearts for life. We also have material things we keep from those long ago days of growing up. Perhaps a first baseball glove, an outstanding term paper written in high school, or a note passed in the hallway in between classes, from a best friend or love interest.
Material things fade and turn yellow, but the memories linger long.
I recently learned of the passing of a childhood friend. I haven’t had much contact with this friend since high school, so why do I feel so saddened by this news?
What is it about those childhood friends?
When I first heard that this friend was diagnosed with lung cancer just a few short weeks ago, and was given only months to live, well, that was a hard pill to swallow. It didn’t matter a bit that Dennis hasn’t been a regular part of my life for a few decades. The news brought sadness and grief.
I toyed with the idea of visiting him at home, where he spent his last days; or perhaps writing him a letter sharing with him some of my favorite memories. I wanted him to know that it mattered to me, that HE mattered to me, regardless of how long it’s been since we all hung out in those yesteryears of growing up.
It seems I waited too long.
I thought I had more time to decide exactly what I wanted to say, and if I wanted to say it in person or in writing.
I wish I would have made a decision and acted on it.
Life carries with it a smattering of regrets.
I will attend the funeral and say my “Goodbyes” in the traditional way after death has occurred, but what I wouldn’t give for that one last chance for conversation.
Don’t get me wrong, I know this desire to connect is mostly for me. I know Dennis had family and friends he was close to and those are the ones he wanted around as he lived his last days.
But I wanted him to know that I remember. I wanted him to know WHAT I remembered of him and how the memories of those days I still carry with me, as vividly as if they were months ago. I had a desire to share with him how important that time in our past still is to me; playing kickball in the middle of the street, and football in the wide open field that became the hub of our childhood. And the teen years that followed, as we each tried to find our way through to become the adults we are today…those people I did life with as a kid still matter.
I ponder now, as I recall all the things…is there someone else I need to connect with? Another day isn’t promised for any of us. Teach us, Lord, to number our days.
Maybe today is the day to reconnect with those who matter most… both presently in our lives and those from our childhood.
Because there’s just something about those childhood friends that we carry with us always~