My college roommate came to visit me this past weekend. What made this so special is that we hadn’t seen each other for 20 years. Let’s face it, a lot of life can happen in 20 years. People grow, kids mature and relationships are forever altered. Needless to say, there was a lot for the two of us to catch up on. We had known each other since grade school and had talked from a young age about going to Ohio State together. You’re probably wondering why it took 20 years for us to get together. Did we live far from each other? Did we have a falling out or just grow apart? The answer is none of the above.
My girlfriend had written me a letter about two months ago. As I looked at the envelope, I was surprised to see the address and wondered why she was writing me. In the past, I had received the occasional Christmas card keeping me up to date on the latest information about her family. As I read the letter, I began to understand her intent in connecting with me now. She shared that her husband had passed away a few months back and described her experience and her feelings surrounding it. She wanted to let me know about the death and included her phone number and email address. My first reaction was pain, then shock and finally, horrible guilt. Why hadn’t I made any sort of effort over the years? What must it feel like to lose someone you love at this time in your life? Why wasn’t I there for her through this horrible ordeal? The real question was why I hadn’t tried harder to continue this friendship. I hoped I might gain those answers by inviting her down to visit me.
We spent the weekend talking about people from our high school and college days and playing the “remember when” game. She shared a lot about losing her husband and I shared the feelings surrounding the loss of my parents. We ate, we laughed, we shopped, and we talked. And when she was leaving, she mentioned how our friendship picked up right where we left it many years ago.
So why hadn’t we seen each other for 20 years when she lived 90 minutes away? I can’t answer that. I take responsibility for not being a good friend and staying in touch. I suppose that I could give the excuse that I put my energy into raising my kids, working, my husband and my friendships here. But, let’s face it, that’s an excuse! In spite of everything, I’m just thankful that she reached out to me and allowed me to be a part of her life again. I realized on our visit how much I missed and enjoyed being with her. The bottom line is, I can’t change the past, no matter how much I would like to do it. What I do have control over is how I treat our friendship going forward. So all you girlfriends out there too busy with life— take time to step back from your busy lives and make sure your priorities are in the right place!! I know I have!