Death is a challenge. It tells us not to waste time… It tells us to tell each other right now that we love each other. ~ Leo Buscaglia
At The Funeral
Janet hadn’t seen her since college. She watched as Kate slipped through the back door of the church. She’d been wondering if Kate would attend the funeral. Kate wore an obligatory plain, black dress with short, black pumps. Janet noticed she did not wear a wedding ring, nor any other jewelry. Her hair was swept up, and untidy strands gently caressed her face. As Kate inconspicuously took a seat in the back pew, her head lowered solemnly as she reached for a tissue in her purse. Like tributaries flowing from a river, soft creases flowed from the corners of her eyes and lips, and a soft pillow encased her midsection. Janet found herself wondering if life had been kind to Kate.
High School Best Friends
Why did we stop speaking? Janet strained to remember, “Was it a boy; was it jealousy; did one of us feel left out; or were we talking behind each other’s back?” Janet reminded herself that Kate had been her best friend in high school as nostalgic memories flooded her senses. Now, she wondered if she dared talk to her. Had it been too long to mend a frayed friendship, or would it be more awkward to ignore each other?
Janet’s mom used to tell her, “You are only responsible for the effort, not the outcome.”
Janet Reconnects With Kate
Bravely, Janet rose from her seat, took a deep breath, and made her way over to the middle-aged woman sitting in the back pew. She caught her eye, but Kate looked away. Undeterred, Janet continued to approach her with a warm smile on her face. Without saying a word, Janet slid next to her, grasped Kate’s hand, and whispered, “I’m so sorry.” She wasn’t sorry for anything specific; she was sorry for everything. She was sorry that she’d allowed their friendship to effortlessly disintegrate like the cottony seeds of a dandelion dispelled in the wind. Because of that, she’d missed out on 20 years of Kate’s life. It all seemed so childish and absurd.
Death puts perspective on life.
Janet’s former friend squeezed her hand, and she noticed a tear navigate down the small rivulet at the corner of Kate’s eye. “I’m sorry, too.” Kate softly murmured. They sat there clasping each other’s hands for the remainder of the service. Janet could mourn the fact that it took a funeral to bring them together, or she could rejoice in the recognition that sometimes death is our greatest teacher.