Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Time To Say Goodbye

The saddest thing about the connections we make in life, happens when they are severed. It seems that in the last few years, and indeed quite recently, I have had to say goodbye to some friends who helped make amazing changes in my life.

I know I have mentioned that in my past I was in show biz. The connections one makes in that business can, I suppose like in many other walks of life, be constant or short lived. I was fortunate enough to enjoy close friendships with many of the actors, singers and dancers I met in the profession. Even when I left the UK to expand my horizons, as it were in the US, I kept in close contact with those I considered my good pals.

Over the years, a trip back to Blighty wouldn't have been complete without looking up old friends for a pint, or afternoon tea, or actually descending on them for a week's hospitality. Of course, when it was their turn to visit me, it was my pleasure to act as host, tour guide and airport shuttle driver. The camaraderie, the conversations, the laughter, the gossip, still reverberate when I remember those wonderful moments in time, that sadly cannot be repeated.

Of course, I have made friends in the US, but even here the march of time has caught up and again taken from me those I held dear. Friendships of thirty, forty years are hard to let go of, and only in the past week I've had to say goodbye to three friends who passed, really before their time. Cancer and heart problems, two areas of medical research that, despite the zillions of dollars  pumped into them by government and charitable donations, the experts never seem to get to the root of the problem. Or perhaps I'm being cynical and bitter. Losing dear ones can do that to you.

 I treasure the friendships I have had, still have, and look forward even now, to making new ones.

William Penn said:
A true friend freely advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously and continues a friend unchangingly.

I think I've been fortunate in having those kind of friends, and sincerely hope I have been as good a friend in return.



13 comments:

  1. JP
    One thing you have right now is the gift of time to tell loved ones how much their life has meant to you and it seems you are using that time well.

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  2. The curse of those who have enjoyed a long life is losing all our old friends. Guess we have to make new ones, like we have here, just to keep up with attrition. And, as Spencer suggests, we need to value our friendships while we have them.

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  3. In spite of being older than anyone else here, I don't know of many old friends who have passed on. But "know of" is the significant factor. I've been very bad at keeping in touch with old friends. I go to the occasional high school reunion, but those still living near that old mill town have become so conservative as to be unrecognizable. I still have tenuous connections with college friends, though, and we have a big reunion coming up. Being self-employed for most of my life has limited some routes to making friends, but I'm still close to a few of my former employees, so I'm grateful for that. I admire you, JP, for being so good at friendship, and wish you and all your friends present and future long and happy lives.

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    1. I worked at Fairless Steel, just north of Philadelphia in the 60's. Yes, whenever I go back for reunions, I'm viewed as "the hippie who moved to California". They sorta stand around grinning in awe, wondering if you're the real deal or something plastic. Sure glad I got out.

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    2. Sacchi - are you older than Daddy?

      There is that problem with old friends, that sometimes we grow in different directions. It's not just political/social beliefs (as with my first female lover, who has become extremely conservative) but also different modes of living. I don't have that much in common with my high school friends who are still living in or near the old town and have children and grandchildren.

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    3. Lisabet, yes, I think we established some time ago that I'm a bit older than Daddy, but not quite as old as Desiree. But I've been proving to myself this winter (and last winter as well) that I can still wield a snow shovel to good effect.

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    4. I turned 70 in October, and I do remember being surprised somebody here was older than me but younger than Desiree.

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    5. Daddy X, I've got you by a year and third. But my 95-year-old father amazes all and sundry--especially doctors--by what good shape he's in, on the whole, so I like to think that I've lucked out in the genes department.

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  4. I went to a reunion a few years back with the 'kids of the chorus' from when we were at the London Palladium. It amazed me how some had hardly changed at all and others I had to look long and hard at to figure out who they were! Trying to be subtle of course! Regardless of the obvious passage of time we had fun remembering all the drama, the tears and the laughter of our youth.

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    1. Ah- the beauty of name badges. Lessens the embarrassment.

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  5. Saying goodbye is really hard, JP. Especially when you don't get the chance to do it in person.

    On the other hand, death doesn't always wait for us to get older. One of my dearest friends died in her early fifties of ovarian cancer, totally unexpected. I've taken a lesson from her passing - don't put off joy.

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  6. JP, you seem to have a talent for friendship. It seems too true that the passage of time pulls people away from each other, and immigration does the same. (One can immigrate into various lifestyles and occupations as well as into a new country.)

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  7. JP, this is lovely and touching, and you sound like a great friend to have. I love the quote you posted! Very wise advice.

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