My friend Hollie.
After I went to my 35th high school reunion, I ran into a classmate who had also attended, but we missed each other at the reunion because we left earlier than she arrived. She told me that our classmate Hollie had died. I was crushed, Hollie was my best friend in seventh and eighth grade. How could she die without my knowing about it? The last time I saw her, she was visiting from California with her beautiful newborn son. I just couldn’t imagine her gone, especially with no way to grieve along with her family. My husband did some searching and found where her brother was working, and I left him a message of grief. Was there some way I could contact her mother?
Her brother left me a message not long after. Hollie was alive and thriving in California, and her son was nine! I was elated, and even better, he gave me her number so I could tell her what I would have wanted to tell her had she died. I told her that she was really important to me during my growing up years, and I was grateful. And I was so glad she was well.
What have I learned? To keep in touch with the people I care about, especially now, when we are all getting older. To keep on nurturing friendships, young and old. So Cathie, Angela, Laura, Red, Paul, Eric, and yes, Hollie–oh there are a bunch of you! I’m coming back to you. You were formative then. You helped to shape me, and the long term result is that I’m a better person because of all the experiences, quarrels, and laughter we shared. Thank you.