Sometimes the bottom just falls out from under you. Sometimes you know it’s coming; you expect the call at any point. My dad has been in and out of the ICU for the last several weeks, and I wait for the call that it’s the last time — and yet he hangs on. But sometimes you just get blindsided. Sometimes you get up and get ready to go to work and, on the way in, TheCop calls you and tells you that a friend who lives two streets over is dead. And then you remember the ambulance and the marked car that you pulled over for when you came home from work last night, and you make the connection. And it stuns you. And you think about all the times you see her around town, and how you’d wave, or maybe talk for a few, and how you both kept saying you needed to get together and have some drinks on the back deck one of these nights now that the weather is nice. And then you realize you are never going to have that chance ever again, because you wasted it, and it is gone. Forever. And then you try not to cry, but you can’t help but sob just a little under your breath, and even though you beg them not to, the tears still threaten to fall while you log into your computer at work.
Friendships, both big and small, are connections to our souls. In case I haven’t said it, you guys are really important to me. Not only those of you who I see every day, but also those of you I may only see once a year at the occasional conference, or the online connection we have. I’m old enough that this is starting to happen more frequently, but still it catches me off guard. I just need you guys to know that when you wave, or say hi, or give me a hug or a high five, I cherish those acknowledgements of our connections. I don’t want another day to go by that you don’t realize your presence makes a difference in my life. And for that, I thank you.
So hug your wife, hug your kids. Reconnect with friends who have drifted out of touch. Appreciate those people around you, and don’t wait to tell them that. We just don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Or if either of us will be there to see it. And I just can’t bear the thought of you not realizing you’ve made a difference to me. And, the next time we see each other, let’s stop and grab that beer. Or the coffee and a chat on a park bench. Please know that our connection is real. Know that before it gets lost in the everyday shuffle of life.