Although we had been good friends in high school I hadn’t spoken with Peter in nearly 40 years. And yet I felt a profound sense of loss at the news of his death.
I remember my father. He had separated from our family in my childhood. In his old age I visited him and he took a stroll down memory lane scrolling through the names of my mother’s relatives.
“Dead,” was my response to each one he mentioned.
At the end of his list he looked wistfully out the window, shook his head and said, “I’m the only one left.”
I could see the will to live escaping his body as his shoulders slumped down and he turned away from the light. Six months later he died from loneliness.
It impressed me most because all the people he asked about, he had disliked. During the time he was married to my mother they rarely got along. Yet news of their death was as momentous to him as the people he loved. They represented a part of his connection to his time and space in this world.
In ways, both obvious and mysterious, our journey on the adventure of life is validated by the shared experiences of those who journey along the way with us. We become the sum total of our experience. And,that includes the lives that intersect and connect with ours. Each time we lose one, we also lose a part of ourself.
Thought for the Day: “If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself alone. A man should keep his friendships in constant repair.” Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)