On Lost and Found

You are exactly perfect just as you are.

Unknown

Today, I met with a friend I hadn’t seen since the winter of 2019. Both our lives became hectic once the pandemic hit, and it’s one of those friendships that became interrupted. Distance, obligations, and priorities meant no spare time to keep up. We fell out of each other’s lives, with random texts here and there. But there are some friends who just vibe, and although it’d been awhile, we immediately fell back into sync over lunch. Both of us had stories to tell that had marked us deeply, and like warriors that were on separate missions, we had returned home with new scars from wounds we endured.

After a few pleasantries, she started. “I’m going to tell you this once. Then I am never talking about this again. Because I can’t relive it more than once without breaking down.”

I listened, spellbound, as each detail was told. It seemed true love had entered her life, unexpectedly. They had known each other long ago, lost touch, and then fate brought them back into each other’s lives. A whirlwind romance, fraught with obstacles that aren’t mine to tell, that seemed to be leading to her happily ever after. She was glowing with pure happiness until her next unexpected words. Abrupt tragedy….I couldn’t stop my gasp of horror. I was glad I had sunglasses on to hide the tears that filled my eyes, just as they did hers.

A few moments passed in silence, as I sat in shock absorbing what she had said. Then, as quickly as she broke, she pulled herself together. I sat speechless, watching this amazing woman across from me, who had known true love and loss during a few short months, never mind all the stress of living through a pandemic. I was in awe. She was broken, but whole; I had never seen such truth radiate before. She continued on, at peace.

“There’s always a lesson, the reason things happen. This was mine. I didn’t know love until I met him. Not really. I thought I did, but I didn’t. I was in a relationship for almost 30 years. I thought I had love, I thought what I lived was the way things were supposed to be. But he showed me that I was wrong, He showed me how relationships worked. There was only support, respect, caring. He accepted who I was, unconditionally. And that made me understand what love could be, should be.”

I had no words. Sometimes you feel you’re looking in a mirror; that there is a crucial message to hear that’s being told. I waited.

“He’s gone. Sometimes I rail against the universe, why? Why? It’s so unfair.”

She paused.

“I don’t know why. I don’t know what is next. I think, I don’t know anything anymore. But I am here, I am strong, and I am loved.”

With that, our check came, and the distraction of paying the bill was upon us.

“I’m here in town for a few more weeks. Let’s meet again?” she said.

“Absolutely,” I said. “I’m here, if you need anything. Call me. Anytime. I’ll be in your area next weekend. Let’s meet for coffee.”

With that, we walked to our cars.

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