A friend of mine died coaching his son's soccer team. I wanted to be there for the funeral even if, truthfully, no one would have noticed I hadn’t gone. I hadn't seen him or his wife in years and, if anything, it might have been awkward. They might not have recognized me , they don't really know the grown up version of me . But I wanted to err on the side of being there. Just so she would know I still thought of them, even though it had been 19 years.
I have enough reminders proving I don't get to know when my turn on this planet is over. And I have regrets, but they all have something to do with me NOT being somewhere that I should have been, or not being there for someone when I could have been. I look back on my short life and my excuses are usually because of work . Which is completely legitimate and acceptable . But lying in the hospital for just under a month led me to realize I don't like being visited in the hospital. Actually, it’s more along the lines of, “I don't want to wait until I'm sick or dead to see who shows up.” I want to see people before I get sicker. Technology has put me back in touch with great people, the kind of friends that are worthy of the description at the end of the movie "Stand By Me:" I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. There are people I haven't seen in years that I would love to visit and know better and see they have turned into fantastic people . Many of them have , I just want to know them again, and hug them, and say hello and goodbye . I want to wander and find more greatness in those friends. I can see how teaching and parenting can be so rewarding this way, you see the potential, and then you see the results. And I like it.
A few years ago, okay maybe about a decade ago, I went to a choir performance, and an elderly gentleman came up to me. I knew exactly who he was, and we both had big smiles as we walked towards each other. Before anything was said, he reached out with both hands and held my face like a little child, and delighted, "I KNOW you!" I had to giggle a little when I realized he didn't remember my name but he kept repeating, "I KNOW you!" I didn't really care that he couldn't remember my name, I was absolutely tickled that he remembered me and smiled. All he remembered was that I was a part of his life somehow and that made him happy, and in turn, that delighted me . And I relish that feeling. I didn't need to bring up the fact that I used to go to his house with his children, and I knew stories of how he raised them, it didn't matter even though they were great stories . He saw me and knew I provided some kind of happiness, and I still can't stop smiling when I remember him holding my face that night. I love it when I recognize people and they recognize me and big, genuine, beaming smiles and laughter ensue . One of my top ten feel-goods . I love the fact that there is at least one three year old that thought at one point in his life that all lollipops come from my purse . I love to be the person who is there .
They might not need me -- yet they might --
I'll let my Heart be just in sight -- A smile so small as mine might be
Precisely their necessity.
- Emily Dickinson