Larry Jordan

Everyone is related, and everything is connected.

When the Leaves Change

Aug 04, 2022 by Larry Jordan, in Personal
Every year, when the leaves change, I think about a friend who died in the fall.

We had known each other for a long time, but not well, and she had a serious cancer. One day, she posted a picture on Facebook that said, "The worst part about being strong is that no one ever asks if you're OK."

As a society, we don't deal with death well, so we cut off or put off (or write off) dying people. Getting involved can be uncomfortable. We think that we don't know what to say or do (and there is not too much we can say or do) so about all that we can do is reach out. "Are you OK?"

We started texting, then calling, then visiting, and we enjoyed getting to know each other, really, for the first time in about 50 years. We talked about everyday stuff, mostly our children and grandchildren. We talked about serious stuff, too. People who are dying are usually really authentic.

When she died, I had a hard cry, and I still think about her a lot. I'm glad that I got to know her, and I'm sorry that she left us so soon. Since her passing, I have been intentional about reaching out to people having hard times, especially people who are dying.

One day, I got a call from a strange number, telling me that his uncle, a friend of mine, had died. "He talked about you all of the time, and he wanted me to let you know when he passed." Then, he paused. "I'm embarrassed to ask, but who are you, and how do you know my uncle?"

"I drive a van for the VA," I said. "I picked up your uncle many times. We knew lots of the same people, and we had lots of the same interests. We used to meet for lunch sometimes." "I'm glad that you were friends," he said. So am I. I had a hard cry then, too.

It's always the right thing to reach out to people, it's never too late to be a friend, and it's always meaningful when you do so.