Last Friday I received the following email. I have copied and pasted it here:
Hi Lea, I called before, but you weren't there. My friend Steve died yesterday from cancer. I knew it was coming, but it has hit me pretty hard. —David
And that set me to thinking all weekend long and even up to now on the fragility of life. Actually, that email chilled me to the bone. Steve was only 47 yrs. old. A friend of my friend, David's. I talked to him a few times on the phone when he was over visiting with my friends in Milford but never met him in person.
And yet, that one email and the ensuing conversation I had with my friend David did terrify me. Let's face it: death IS scary. And it is even scarier when it happens out of the blue with no advance warning. I guess what is so chilling is that it can and does happen all the time. One minute you are laughing and joking on the phone with a person and next you are reading an email saying that he has died.
This set me to thinking about men and their friendships and the entire emotional realm. Much has been written and said about how men are constrained by their emotions and have few emotional outlets. After receiving that email I could tell that my friend David was hurting so I called him. He then told me how he was beside himself and didn't know what to do. He recounted how he and Steve had such good times together and that they had the same sense of humor and got all the same jokes. I was left thinking that I don't think he would have shared how distraught he was with another man. He went on to say that all the DVD's that they'd watch together - he didn't think he could ever watch them again.
"Lea, this is just like when my brother died. It's come from out of the blue and I don't know what to do."
And what could I say? There was nothing TO say. I told him that now he has two special people looking down on him and that they were now getting acquainted. (His friend Steve had never known his brother who died in an accident.)
And all the while he was talking the poem by Emily Dickinson was going through my mind...
Parting is all we will ever know of heaven.
And all we will ever know of hell.
To whomever comes across this post - we are all in this together, are we not? I am sure there is not one among us who cannot relate to what I have written here.
Regards on this winter afternoon,
P.S. This is the song that came to mind as my friend told me of his friend's untimely death. It touches on the themes of friendship and the fragility of life. I do hope you like it as much as I do.