Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Our Last Conversation

Monday morning started with a bang, or more accurately, a thud. The caller ID said it was my friend, Jillian, which was odd, because although we're good friends and have known each other half our lives, we're both really busy, and she never makes personal calls during the day. The first thing she said was, "Are you sitting down?" Ooh, this was going to be bad.

I said, "No, but I could be," and sat down on the bed.

She said, "Michelle's gone." I knew she meant 'gone' as in permanently. She died in a car accident on Saturday night. Jillian had called Sunday, but I never picked up the phone, and it's not the sort of thing you leave as a message.

Michelle was another friend of half a lifetime. When we met, I was just opening up psychically and spiritually. Michelle acted as my big sister, or my guide, assuring me that I wasn't crazy when I "knew" something I could not possibly have known consciously, suggesting books for me to read, even giving me a 'magic wand' at one point. I'm really grateful to her for making stepping onto the path so much easier and safer. I probably would still be who I am today had I not met her, but you never know.

Michelle and I had been very close, but when she moved to southern California about 15 years ago for her husband's job, we lost touch (remember, this was before email). Life happened: she had her second and third children, ran her successful executive search business in a way that empowered women, bought and sold at least one house, successfully fought breast cancer, eventually divorced the father of her kids, soldiering on as a single mom.

We ran into each other at a party of Jillian's about 2 years ago, and, in the way of true friends, again became as close as ever. It was different this time, though. Because I had developed so much, so she relied on me as one of her advisers. It was an honor for me to be able to help someone I respected so much.

Michelle had called me about 10 days previously, wanting me to look at some questions. She was worried about doing this on the phone, so she said she'd drive up here so we could hike and talk, and would call me in a day or two to let me know what time she'd arrive.

She never called, which really wasn't like her, super-responsible person that she was. So a week ago Saturday, I called her to see if she was still planning to come. She said no. Again, this was so not like her, but I accepted it, because I knew the pressure she was under.

She made a huge point of telling me how much she loved me, and how grateful she was to me for being there, and seeing things for her when she couldn't see for herself, when she couldn't even be there for herself sometimes. I told her how much I loved her, too, and how honored I felt that she let me see her. When we hung up, I thought, "It's going to be a really long time before we talk again... if ever." I wondered how many years it would be -- another 12 or so? I was really sad for the loss of our relationship, again.

When Jillian called, I was shocked, but I have to say, not surprised. And I thought back to the last conversation I had with Michelle -- and how glad I was that our last conversation had been one where we told each other how much we meant to each other.

The point is, you never know which conversation you have with someone will be your last. So take every opportunity to tell everyone in your life how much they mean to you.

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