i flew to chicago for a memorial service last weekend. my oldest and dearest friend’s mother had passed over the holidays, and the family set up a memorial to be held on her birthday. it was sweet, it was eloquent, and it was full of pomp and ceremony. it was an episcopal service, full of music, sentiment, and love. i was very thrilled to be a witness.
she was a modern and sophisticated woman, both a mother of 4 and an executive for an international construction consulting firm. she had dual citizenship with germany and the us. she had been born in germany and sought asylum in the states during the war. she pioneered a new life for herself and created a family, a career, and a legacy. she was loved deeply and will be missed.
my concern is not so much for the loss of my friend’s mother, but more for my friend. his grief is real, and his coping skills may just be compromised. i am hoping i am misjudging the situation. what i do know is that there is a duality in the whole thing for me. i cannot change the people i love. i dare not even judge them. i have no idea what their path is to be. i know i don’t see following their particular journey is for me. my road rolls in a different direction. the challenge remains to continue to love my friend even though zoning out is still part of his modus operandi.
as i spent the weekend with old friends, i was aware that most of them were imbibing with gusto. there were two apartments in the building that had been commandeered to facilitate the large crowd. upstairs was the “smoking lounge” and downstairs was the less toxic agenda. as i sat downstairs for most of the evening, i realized how tenuous i felt the our friendship had become. the last chicago visit had left a sorrowful and worried taste in my mouth. it seemed that the circle of intimate friends that had been tight for 25 years or so was unravelling. that betrayal and lack of compassion was undermining our history. and using was at the core of it all.
knowing that i can’t change this is humbling. i understand this is bigger than me. and i don’t profess to be on top of all this. i am merely a traveller. i can’t control some things. i can just remain true to myself. all of me.