Today I was reminded just how fragile life is – and how fitting of a reminder as the clock continues to tick down the last day of the year.

Late last night I stumbled upon some very sad yet fragmented news and slowly put pieces of a puzzle together. While everyone around me was celebrating the holidays and preparing for the new year, a very good friend was struggling to find balance – her dad lost his battle to cancer on December 22, just days before Christmas. There was no public announcement, she did not tell any of her friends. It was through reading between the lines on several Facebook posts and reading the comments on her family members’ pages that I was able to find enough information about the funeral today.

At 10:50 a.m. I walked into a Quaker meeting space on Grand Ave where the ceremony was held and was quickly reminded what a great man her dad was… the place was overflowing with people – relatives, friends, acquaintances, old students. I found a spot in the hallway waiting to see if I could catch my friend before the service began. We lived together for two years in college, close friends but like all friendships, life gets busy. There isn’t always the convenience of sharing a living space to see those you care about. We manage to get together every couple of months, usually for some wild adventure or road trip. She is always the first person I call when I have a road trip idea in mind.

I saw her mother pass by a few times, her sisters, her brother. No Lydia. Finally I see her across the hall and she quickly came over to give me one of the longest hugs I have ever had. It was in that moment, when she held me close and told me just how glad she was that I came (knowing she didn’t tell me to be there), and I felt a few sobs escape her tiny frame, that I knew I was at the right place at the right time.  I held her close and told her I wouldn’t miss it for the world, and that I was always there for her, no matter what. She nodded into my sleeve and dried her eyes. It was time for the service.

It was a beautiful service, very fitting for her dad and the family. I was so glad I could be there for my dear friend.

I have already created a wonderful list of goals for 2012 and I plan to accomplish every one of them to the best of my ability. But I am gong to added another right now and I ask each of you to add it to your list as well.

Find ways to be there for those you love. I am reminded today just how important it is — no matter what. Whether it is through a phone call, a meeting, a text, a hug. Be that person that is able to sit next to a friend during a hard time without saying a word. Those are the moments that count.

Posted in Learning, Life

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