I went to a funeral today. It was for the dad of a guy I’ve known since first grade. Earlier maybe.
The place was packed. And I sat near the back (the front was totally full) with a group of my old friends. We all hugged and exchanged small talk. I care about these people deeply. Each one has been in my life for at least 20 years and some a heckofa lot longer.
Do I see them often?
Hardly ever. Twice a year on a good year.
Would I be there if any of them needed me? Do I think they would be there lickety split if I needed them?
Absolutely & absolutely.
Normally, at a funeral, I think about my mortality and the mortality of my family. I ache for the people who deeply loved the deceased. And I did think about those things today.
But today, other thoughts floated through my head, as well.
Who have we – the old gang – grown up to be? Are we who we were? Are we better? Different? Are we still friends because we’ve always been friends? Or are we still friends because we have shared history (and some secrets)? Or maybe we really do still see in each other all the things (or some of the things) that we liked so much all those years? Or we like and respect who we’ve grown into? Or some or all of the above….
I know that I feel happy to see these guys. I care very much that they are happy and that their lives are what they want them to be. And I feel lucky that they care about me and mine, too.
Andrew has become very friendly with some of the boys (men?) in my old gang. He gets emails from them about live music and hangs out with them – more than I do. Am I jealous? Well…just a little. Since a lot of my old pals are guys, it gets harder to be close. Sure we can go out as couples. And we can even have the occasional lunch. But in reality, hanging out with married members of the opposite sex too often without respective spouses just seems…well…unseemly.
I know. Sounds old-fashioned.
I am lucky that Andrew likes my old friends and that we all see each other – albeit not all that often.
I hope that we’ll all get together for something light and casual soon. Seeing friends only at funerals and weddings (and bar mitzvahs) just feels like an old cliche.