It is strange how the older I get the more unclear I am on what exactly it means to be a friend.
dictionary.com defines as follows:
a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter: friends ofthe Boston Symphony.
a person who is on good terms with another; a person whois not hostile: Who goes there? Friend or foe?
a member of the same nation, party, etc.
As people my age face untimely deaths, it is always brought back front and center in my mind. I went to school with this guy. He was always very kind and friendly to people around him. I have never heard him utter an unkind word. He was epileptic, so after having a few classes with him over time, he knew that I knew what to do if he began having a seizure when I was in his company. Give him space and try and keep anything hard out of his way. I remember feeling some sort of duty with this, even though we never actually "hung out" outside of school. I never went to his house or knew his family. But I would say we were attached by personal regard. We were definitely always on good terms. Apparently we never connected on Facebook, though I looked him up as soon as I heard the news today. Was nice to see his face. (image from here)
I had recently heard that he was finishing up some sort of nursing program. This made me happy to think that even though he had all of his own personal trials in life that he would want to choose a profession where he could help others. I imagined him caring for patients, providing them the same warm assurance, that he was in their corner. Again, I think to myself, "why didn't I ever tell him what a great guy I thought he was? Why are we so slow to share the things we find so strong and good about the people around us? They are gone so quickly. I hope they can read blogs in heaven because I have read so many good and heartfelt messages to people who have since passed on. It only seems fair that they should be able to read them. Goodbye Derek. God be with you till we meet again.