In times when so many of us are busy with life in general and caught up in the day to day, it can be easy to overlook friends and friendships and suddenly weeks and months have passed since we saw or spoke to them. Time passes quickly and it seems there are never enough hours in a day to all that we plan or would like to do.
For context, we received news earlier this week that a loved and very close friend of ours had died from cancer. It was a sudden and timely reminder about the importance of friends.
As we took a few moments to recall our favourite times spent with this friend, I was grateful for those memories and also for the opportunity we took to visit him twice in the last six months since he was first diagnosed, spending a few days exploring his favourite part of Australia with him as tour guide. Even though he was weary and sick from the treatment, the pleasure he gained from showing us around was clear and it was lovely to quietly share the experience and his company.
Stop. Just for a moment. And consider how it would be to lose a great friend suddenly. Choose one and picture them not being in your life any more. How would you feel if you hadn’t been in touch for a while and had said to yourself “I’ll give them a call next week”?
When did you last see or speak to that friend? Was it you who made contact or them? Friendships often rely on one person maintaining contact and when they stop doing that the friendship may fade away but is that what you really want to happen? Why are friends important to us?
We shouldn’t feel we have to see or call or friend out of some sense of obligation but rather because we want to spend time with them. You may be thinking “That’s all well and good but I don’t have time” and I would disagree. If something or more significantly someone is important enough to us, we can all create the time. Cancel something. Move something. Recognise that whatever is on your to-do list is unimportant compared to missing the opportunity to see that person, maybe for the last time.
We were fortunate that we knew our friend had limited time due to the diagnosis and that created a sense of urgency for us, yet it shouldn’t take that to spur us into action. As Nick often says, and we have both experienced, tomorrow if promised to no-one. If you knew you only had 24 hrs left to live who would you call? Who would you choose to spend time with?
Now is the time to catch up with that special someone who you may have overlooked; not tomorrow or next week or next year. None of us knows exactly how long we have left and most of us have no legacy other than the thoughts in the memories of those we touch, so please, don’t wait. Touch the heart of someone you’ve thought of and care for. How will they feel if you do? (Vale Michael – dear friend)