A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked. Bernard Meltzer
I know, I know, 1960 is very ancient history, but I have this thing for remembrance days. Having kept a journal now for over 35 years, I’ve developed this habit of annually recalling what happened on this day or that one.
My best friend was also Robert all during my early life. We started staying over at each others’ homes when we were only 4 or 5 years old. It’s like when we met each other we knew we’d been around before and were glad to have the companionship once again.
When he was 13 and I had already turned 14 his parents got “the call” parents dread above all, their beloved son and older brother had been killed in a car wreck during the night of March 1-2 while driving back to college with some friends. Everyone else walked away and Jay was dead.
At school that morning, I was called out of class. My teacher told me that Jay had died and that Robert wanted me to come be with him. A light snow had started as I left school. By the time I got to his house the snow had started to accumulate and it was cold.
We stayed downstairs instead of going to his room as we normally did. In retrospect, his mother was probably sobbing upstairs. We were quiet and I remember we knelt on the sofa and looked over the back at the beautiful blanket of snow just out the big window.
My emotional being expanded that day. I wanted to reach out to my friend in some way I didn’t yet have the capacity to give, but maturity coursed through me for the first time that I remember. My life changed as I learned about compassion and unconditional love.
I also learned a bit about the power of silence, that sometimes it’s okay to just be quiet. There’s often a greater healing quality in just being together than in all the words we could conjure.