When my husband and I relocated 20 years ago to the United States, we left behind dear friends and all of our immediate family. To say it was a difficult move is putting it mildly. Although we were excited about this new adventure we were embarking on, we were going to be living six thousand miles away from anyone we knew and loved dearly.
We were leaving the place where we both grew up; leaving behind childhood friends, best friends, couples we socialized with and colleagues.
If you recall, 20 years ago was way before Facebook and emails were just becoming a way to correspond with people. Cell phones had just come on the market a few years earlier, but cellular calls were still very expensive and few had them. Long-distance land line calls were just as costly and most letters were still mailed. Simply put, back in the ole days, it was much harder to keep in touch with friends living far away.
When we left after saying all of our tearful goodbyes, promising to stay in touch, time went quickly by with little or no contact. The guilt of lost friendships was mounting. We felt terrible about our lack of contact to our old life as we tried to cement our new one.
During a conversation I was having with my husband about an old friend, I asked him, "Would you go to his funeral?" My husband pondered this and responded, "No, probably not."
This became our new gauge for keeping in touch with friends. If we would go to their funeral, we made more of an effort to call or write a letter updating them on how we were doing. By thinking this way we relieved some of the guilt we felt by letting some of our connections go and more importantly, we realized just how significant some people were in our lives.
A few years ago I made reference, in an article, to friendships being there for a reason, a season or a lifetime. As we get older we realize that not all friendships last -- not even the best of ones.
Now it is so easy to keep in touch with people, but life is still too short to hold onto friends that, at the end of it all, you really don't even want to go to their funeral. It is OK to let go of those relationships that no longer work for you, are toxic or if the two of you have simply grown apart. It does not mean they were not important to you or that you will not miss what you once had with them.
It may be a little morbid to think this way, but the reality is the older we get, the more funerals we will attend. Hold onto those lifetime friends and if you are not sure who they are ask that simple question, "Will I make the effort and go to their funeral?"
So, will you come to my funeral?