Praying for a Friend Anyway

Praying for a Friend Anyway June 20, 2023

A high school friend I reconnected with on Facebook just posted, that cancer is going to take him.   I couldn’t finish writing that sentence.   I put away my blog rather than finish writing that post.

A week later, he is gone.

He and I became friends at my high school. He took me to Junior year prom and we were in journalism together and hung out in Mrs. Williamson’s classroom during open periods, talking about science fiction, fantasy novels, and comic books. The day after his death, my daughter was at Awesome.con in DC, hosting a table for her art. She got me a signed print of Cutter from Elf Quest, a graphic novel series he introduced me to back in 1983. I felt like it was my friend saying, “Goodbye.”
The next day, she told the artist and author, Wendi and Richard Pini about all of this, and they teared up, saying stories like that make their day. My friend was all about stories and making people’s days. He and my dad had a pun-off at the dinner table one night, and we held regular contests of such nature at the local newly opened coffee and chocolate shop in Beaumont –it didn’t last but the memories did.

My last living memory of him face to face came to my dad’s wake.  Agnostic though he was, he came.  Even though it was a rosary, he came, and I was very grateful.    I’ll miss you my friend.  Now I get to do a rosary for you.

In the past week, I’ve finished grading.  I’ve also done a crash course on AI.  We’ve watched our youngest son graduate 8th grade.  We’ve seen the Spiderman movie, we’ve gone swimming and we’ve planted a garden.  It’s been a jam packed week.  We made jam.  My daughter had a booth at Awesomecon.  Some of us went.  We made steak for Father’s Day.  I’ve won and lost at hearts.  We purged two closets of non fitting clothes and everyone was home for a week.

I am here feeling worn and tired.  Summer is here but it is not yet summer in the heart.

These things should have been savored and somehow, I plugged through them without quite feeling, without quite knowing it. Some of it was how busy life can be.

The Blessed Mary Statue came to my house.   It’s like she’s here to remind me, summer in the heart can happen, but I must let it.   She’s watched as I’ve run about trying to get to everything.  She’s noticed me not writing. She’s noticed me stressing.  She’s noticed me picking up the beads and putting them down, pacing as I don’t pray.  She waits, knowing that I need to sit, waiting for me to sit with her.

And when I finally did, it was a moment of grace that made me wonder why it took me so long to sit.  She laughs. She knows why it took so long.

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