I want to write something funny—in keeping with the name of this blog—but I can’t do that today. Maybe next week. Another good friend passed away on Saturday. It wasn’t a death anyone was prepared for, as prepared as you can be anyway. He fell and hit his head on a concrete driveway three weeks before and never regained full consciousness. We don’t know what caused the fall and never will, but the result is a tragic loss for his wife, who’s been my friend for over 45 years, their two grown kids, and their four grandchildren. And all of us, a large group that gathered together on many occasions during the year.
In this case, it was an accident that caused the death, but I would be naive to think that our group won’t be going through this more and more as we age. When this same group of friends (women only this time) were celebrating one of our birthday lunches long ago—we do this for each woman every year—our section of the restaurant was empty except for our table of eight and two elderly women sitting in a booth nearby. Rather than being annoyed by our raucous laughter and loud voices, they seemed charmed. When we began to talk with them, we told them how our group gets together regularly for these birthday lunches. One of the women said, “Most of our friends have died.”
It was a startling comment, but it made us think for a moment about the future. Being in our 50s, we expressed the proper sympathy to the women and went back to our conversations about our kids, our husbands, our jobs.
I think about that conversation now. Though we’re not as old now as those women were then, we’re getting closer. But these are neither good nor productive thoughts. The good thoughts to replace them include being grateful every day for who is still in our lives: spouses, children, grandchildren, and, of course, loving friends.