Last night was a horrible night for my wife and I. We learned that a dear friend of ours had passed away… FOUR MONTHS AGO! Our friendship often went five or six months without contact. We’d send each other jokes or Facebook or blog posts from time to time, but it was quite characteristic of our friendship to not have a personal conversation for months at a time.
The lack of constant contact didn’t mean we weren’t good friends. It just meant she had her life and we had ours. Whenever we made contact we always picked up right where we had left off the last time we visited. We thoroughly enjoying having her in our lives and it saddens us deeply to learn of her passing.
I have another dear friend that I have a similar relationship with. Father Frank and I first met while I was in the Army and stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas in 1985. When I lived in El Paso we saw each other at least twice weekly and we talked every day on the phone, sometimes for hours on end like little old women with nothing else to do. We became the best of friends. We are still very close and I can tell you that no other person on this planet has had such a profound impact on my life.
After I moved away from Ft. Bliss and Father Frank moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico it became more and more difficult to stay in touch on a regular basis. To this day, we often go a couple months without contact.
But when Father Frank’s dearly beloved wife passed away a few years ago, I made the trip to Albuquerque to be with my friend for about ten days. It was amazing to see him and what a blessing it was to be the one he asked to be near him during his time of loss after the family had left to return to their parts of the world.
Father Frank and I always talked about “how would our families know to notify the other if one of us should pass away?” He came up with his solution… a “Dooms Day box” as he likes to call it. In that box, he keeps some personal items, but also a list of whom to notify in the event he passes away.
I am so glad to know I am on that list. I can’t tell you what it would mean to me to miss the funeral of this man I love so dearly. Oh my gosh! It would absolutely crush me. I am so thankful his family has my contact information in that box and that Father Frank loved me enough to make sure I would be notified in the event he passes away.
Sadly, my friend who passed away a couple months ago did not have such a box; no list with our contact information on it and as a result, we didn’t find out about her passing until last night when my wife posted something on our friend’s Facebook page. A friend of our friend saw the Facebook post and reached out to share the horrible news.
In today’s world, online friendships are becoming more and more common place. But even in the case of someone we had seen face-to-face countless times; been camping with; had dinner with; shared a prayer with and so much more, nobody knew to contact us.
I am resolved right now to update my own Dooms Day box and include all the names and contact information for people that are close to me; people my family might not ever know about if I don’t compile this list. I encourage you to do the same.
And for the record, no we are not angry with anyone for us not knowing of our friend’s death. We just miss her and would have liked to have gone to the celebration of her life memorials.
Rest in peace, Valerie. You were and are a significant part of our lives. We love you and will always remember you fondly. You were gifted with an amazing spirit and love of everyone around you. You touched people’s lives in ways you probably never even realized. Sleep in Christ my dear friend. Your work here is done. May God be with your spirit always!