I had a very interesting thing happen to me this weekend. I travelled to Ottawa, Ohio, with my brother, his wife, and a couple of friends to go to the visitation of a family friend who passed away. Years ago, my brother was in the seminary, studying to be a Catholic priest. While there, many of the parents of the guys studying at the seminary became close friends. I don't really know where the name came from (it may have been given to them somehow for all I know), but they called themselves "The Guild".
Over the years, all of them got together several times a year. Sometimes to go to dinner, or a dance (I know the Inca Ball was one of the fundraisers they supported), or to celebrate their anniversaries. They spent many, many weekends up at "the river". It took me many years to figure out what river they went to. :) It was the Ottawa River. :)
When Duane entered the seminary, I was only 2 or so years old. (So I really don't remember ever living with my brother -- isn't that odd?). Eventually, as this group got closer and closer, they began to bring their kids to some of the events, which was neat, because I got to make some friends. Little did I know at the time that some of them would become lifelong friends!
The older we got, we saw each other less and less frequently all the time. We grew up, went to college, got married, had kids......the old story that "life" got in the way. However, our parents all still got together.....maybe not as frequently as they did in their younger years, but did as often as they could and still had some serious laughing fits when they did! I loved watching this group. The older I got, the more stories I heard.....and man, did they have some fun! I'm surprised they weren't kicked out of some of the hotels they were in!
Now, it seems, we only see each other at funerals and viewings. Each time, we get together and say, "We need to do lunch." And then life gets in the way again. As my cousin Janet said last week in her talk to our CCD class, "Don't say it if you don't mean it! Don't say, 'Let's do lunch' if you have no intention of following through." And she's right.
So, Mary Kay and I are going to lunch. Soon. She only lives in Ottawa, for goodness sakes! Not across the world!
So, today I am thankful for my old (even though she isn't old, our friendship is!) friend, Mary Kay. And really, it's not for any of the reasons I mentioned above. She said something to me yesterday, when I was at the funeral home to console her on the loss of her father, that took me back. She nailed a trait in me that even I had never figured out.
As I was walking through the line, giving everyone a hug and sharing my condolences, I found myself crying. Not a surprise if you know me, but I really do try to hold it together when I am the one who is supposed to be showing support. :) I got to Mary Kay and apologized for crying. I said, "But I"m here for you!" to which she replied........
"You have never liked good byes your whole life. When we would get together as little girls, when it was time to go, you would just disappear. No hugs, no good byes -- you would just get in the car and wait for your parents."
And you know what? She is absolutely, totally right. I remember those times. I would beg my parents not to leave because we were having such fun and....I didn't want to say good bye.
What's amazing about this revelation is that this is a woman that I have not seen on a regular basis in over 20 years -- I would say 30, but that might show my age :). She picked up on this and was able to share with me. Amazing.
I remember we would go to visit my cousins and I would cry all the way home to Botkins from Ft. Recovery........because I didn't want to say good bye.
I know that when our extended family gets together, very often I'm misty on the way out the door to leave.....because I don't want to say good bye.
Good byes are a huge part of our lives! We leave certain people every day (our kids and husbands in the morning, leave our co-workers in the evenings, etc.). Some good byes are certainly easier than others.
But final good byes, as we say to the dearly departed, are still really hard. We want to hold hands with our loved ones forever. We want to always have them in our grasp.
Soon enough, they will be in our grasp again. Our time and their time in heaven are measured in two very different ways.
I know I'm at an age where I'm going to be saying a lot of good byes in the coming years ......but somehow I don't see them getting any easier.
And Mary Kay, thank you for noticing something about me that I hadn't noticed myself. And for that, I owe you my attitude of gratitude. Lunch soon? I think yes. I'll even buy. And probably cry all the way home.