My father’s in town, so I stopped by his hotel after work for conversation and dinner. I don’t see him frequently, so it was good to share what he unironically calls “father-son time.”
Since I last saw my dad, a childhood friend whose parents are my godparents died suddenly. My father related the story of how Hiram Watkins drove his parents to the airport that morning — and about the call they received a few hours later from his devastated girlfriend.
I haven’t lost many people who were close to me, and only a couple have been cohorts. My friend Tom Cole was 43 when he passed away; Hiram was 41. I’m 41.
Hiram and I saw each other infrequently; when we connected as adults, I often felt that we were in an unacknowledged competition. Women, career, even cooking — a passion he and I shared — were ways in which we subtly seemed to go head-to-head. When I became aware of the dynamic, I did my best to put on the brakes.
It’s callous to view a childhood friend’s passing as a “teachable moment.” Hiram’s death is not a developmental task or a growth opportunity. Don’t expect to start seeing photos in my social stream of me skydiving or running with bulls.
It is an occasion for reflection, so I remind myself not to view each day as another spin of the wheel of fortune and have started thinking more about the things I truly want to do – not “one day,” but now and tomorrow. I’m more determined to keep my friends close. I’m even considering a year-long gym membership, as opposed to month-to-month.
Positive change comes from within, so odds are low that these new ways of being mindful will persist.
I guess we’ll see.