Past moments – past motion – can last a lifetime in our hearts and minds. Like threads through time, our ability to remember and feel keep us connected to old friends, even when we haven't seen them for decades. It's awesome.
When I was in school, I had some good years and some bad years. We all did. Through those years, I met a lot of people, and shared many, many fleeting moments with them. I'm sure you did too. But let me share a few moments I remember sharing with friends in high school, because ... well... this post is for them.
* I played basketball with a guy who was always taller and better than me, and even when he scored 40 points in a game, he made everyone on the team feel just as important. I think it's fitting he's in management now.
* In jr. high I knew this one guy who knew everything about hockey, and he would always lend me a quarter or two for a slice of 'zza' when I was short.
* I remember trick-or-treating with (in Gr.12 no less) this one girl who always – and ever so patiently – helped me in French class.
* There was this one gal whose laugh would make everyone else laugh, especially when she got herself into a laughing fit ... I wonder if she still laughs that way.
* I remember this one girl (in Mr. Duhaim's Gr.8 Socials class) "made" me listen to Sinead O'Connor's "OMG, this song is soooo amazing" chart-topper, and me pretending to like it coz I thought she was cool.
* I spent hours trying to learn Metallica riffs from this one guy. He always went on about veggie subs and why short summers were better than long ones because the shortness makes you appreciate it more. He married this amazing gal from the class a year behind us.
* I remember talking for hours with this one friend about music (especially the Beatles) and the importance of 'living' ... for hours and hours. She got mono. I moved away. We lost touch.
* This one guy from Nfld became a great friend, and no matter how high school frenetic things got, he always provided a calming presence.
* I rescued Larry the Lobster with this one guy who I wish I saw more of today ... if only because my abs would benefit from our joke-milkings.
* There was this one gal who always showed up when I meandered the hallways, pretending like I had somewhere to go. She's off teaching in another country with her young family, and I'm sure her amazing parents would like her closer to home.
* And there was this one gal who loooved country music and 2-stepping. Driving in her truck one day we talked about the types of people we'd marry one day: She was going to marry a cowboy, and I some super hot babe from BC (I grew up in Edmonton). I have her to thank for this post.
Out of nowhere, couple months back, this last friend I mentioned sent me a message asking what she could do to help our family. I hadn't heard from her in 15 years. She explained how she had her own family now, how she found meaning and inspiration by Gabrielle and our blog posts, and wanted to know how she could help.
Two days before Gabrielle's 1st birthday, a package arrived at the door. It was from this old friend who organized a care package with everyone I mentioned above, and some other genuinely concerned people I've never met, but who have been touched by Gabrielle.
I couldn't open it for two days. Every time I tried, I broke down.
When I did, and to put it simply, it was beautifully overwhelming.
The package included a letter explaining how all my old friends met up at her place one afternoon to talk about how they could help, a beautiful card, and several awesome gifts.
I wrote in a previous post how I think sometimes we shed tears when we're filled up with thoughts and feelings that transcend the present moment ... that transcend present motion.
I thought of this when I opened the package from my old friends ... from people who had never met Gabrielle before, yet somehow felt connected, and are connected.
Here were the words and gifts from a whole bunch of old friends, who's life paths had diverged from mine... many, many years ago ... who felt connected to us, and me to them, through the raw and real love of our little darling Gabrielle.
In her letter, my old friend (who organized the whole thing) shared:
We hung the banner of flags of names on the window at Gabrielle's party.but then, I remember it’s the miracle of Gabrielle.
It's amazing how we can carry with us a lifetime of memories ...
Memories of us being with others.
In motion with others.
Experiencing with others.
Feeling with others.
Thank you old friends.
You were there with us as we celebrated our darling Gabrielle's first year of life.