At my age, losing friends is a given. But it is never without profound sadness for the loss along with enormous gratitude for years of friendship. This is why spending six hours with a friend of many decades last week was pure joy.
On an uncommonly hot (even for DC) Washington day, I took the Metro from the airport to visit my longest-ever friend for five hours of non-stop chatting. It’s true that we talk on the phone, but in-person togetherness, complete with hugging, is different.
We met at age four or five at a beach in Bemus Point, New York. We have a picture from then with our mothers, my hair in braids wrapped around my head, both of our tummies protruding as is typical of that age. At the time, I lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, but when we moved to Pittsburgh, (she lived in a small town nearby) we saw each other occasionally when her parents came to town.
By coincidence, we ended up at the same summer camp. By coincidence, we ended up at the same college. By then our friendship was destined to be permanent.
And over the years, although in different cities, we have remained close. We share the ups and downs of our kids and grandchildren. We both lost our husbands at about the same time. We talk on the phone often.
But nothing beats an in-person hug.