An email I received this morning notified me of the death of another classmate; one which I was very sad to see. Pat and I knew each other in school, but were not buddies outside of classes and clubs at school.
In 2003, when we had our 45th reunion, I was in my home town, shopping at a local mall when I saw a woman who looked familiar. She glanced at me and then looked back with recognition in her eyes, so we spoke. A name and a voice took me back to 1958 instantly, and I remembered the young woman that Pat had been. We managed to spend a good bit of time together over the next 2-3 days; very enjoyable times.
She had lived for a long time in Myrtle Beach, SC, and when I told her that our family sometimes vacationed there, she made me promise to let her know when I was coming, so we could get together.
A year or so later, I contacted her and we made arrangements for her to visit with us at our beach resort. Being a top-notch real estate agent in that area, she knew our location and found me easily. We had lunch and a wonderful, long conversation, and she met most of my family. We promised to see each other again in 2013 for our 50th reunion, but it was not to be. Pat had become ill and was unable to drive. Had I known she could travel (even though not under her own steam) I would have gone to get her and taken her back to Charleston, WV with me. Alas, we didn't find it out until there was no time for me to do that. I really missed seeing her then, and was looking forward to going back to Myrtle Beach so that I could plan a visit with her. I had heard that she was in a nursing facility, but that didn't matter.
Well, we have not made it back to that area, and now Pat has gone on to her reward (one hopes.) I am so sorry that we didn't get another opportunity to see one another, and I hope she rests-in-peace, pain-free and in serenity. Goodbye, Pat, I'm glad I knew you.
The longer we live, the more we see our old friends and classmates pass away. My dad lived to be 91, and when he was in his 70's and 80's, he spent a good bit of his time visiting friends and former co-workers in hospitals, nursing homes and attending funerals. He said he thought no one would be alive to mourn his passing......and though he was wrong.....I do get where he was coming from. We all hate to see our long-term friends go, but it is part of life and must be borne.