This past week has been rough.
Without getting into too many details, I found out that a coworker had died, which was shocking. It was the kind of thing that as you’re driving along and seeing other people doing their everyday things you think, “How can they be so normal when the world is off its axis?” We were all shaken, and I still feel a little off kilter. He was a good guy, and we miss him. I didn’t know him well, but I genuinely liked him. But something like this also brings up scary thoughts about life and mortality and things yet to be done, making the days anxious and the nights restless. And very, very sad.
But in the middle of the bewilderment and grief, I got a text from a friend. I didn’t tell too many people — I didn’t post it on Facebook, since I pretty much prefer to think of Facebook as an online cocktail party. (Yeah, I’m totally one of those people who posts pictures of cats and gross food and insipid articles and things like my discovery that bacon is better baked than fried.) And I don’t feel like I deserve sympathy because we weren’t close, and people’s natural reaction to anyone’s death is kind condolences. Which is nice, but it’s also not really my story, even if I do feel grief. But it felt so big and I needed help coping away from my work circle, so I reached out to a couple of close friends and said, “Hey, this is what’s going on.” They were all lovely and made me feel better with kind words and messages and texts, checking in. And one of them texted and said, “How are you doing? Let’s meet for lunch.”
Her sweet offer in the middle of all of this made all the difference. Seeing the words on my phone and the good heart behind them made me cry, and for the first time in days it was a happy cry. So we met today for lunch, and showed up wearing the same shoes (which she actually gave me):
And we ate lunch and she let me vent, and we talked about chocolate and clothes and Franciscan dinnerware and bubble-flips, but mostly we talked about friendship and how lucky we are to have found our circle of friends, filled with more generous, loving, and kind people who “get” one another, and how we have found our tribe.
And even though I’m already very well aware of this, today was a good reminder how rich I am with friends, and how lucky I am for my good fortune and don’t take it for granted. The truth of it is that if I died tomorrow, I wouldn’t really have too many regrets — well, I would regret that I never really became a writer, that I gave up my apartment in downtown San Francisco, and didn’t go see the double-bill of Styx and Pat Benatar at Konocti Harbor — my life is good, and I’m surrounded by good people. Like friends who check in and take you to lunch and talk about bubble-flips.
I guess my one big regret would be if they didn’t know I loved them, so I’m telling them all now that I do, with a special shout-out to my lunch date. Thank you, friends. You all make the world a better place, and my life a happy one. I’m lucky indeed.
YOLO and all that.