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Thinking Ahead

I was going to write about my sometimes nemesis and sidekick, pepper spray. But life got in the way and something else came up.

While procrastinating and scrolling down the social networking site Meetup, I came across a celebration of life for someone named Gary Mogil.

I didn’t know him personally, we’d never met, but I had seen his picture on that site. In it, he is wearing a hat, holding a morsel of food and smiling. I sensed that he wasn’t my type and that if we met and wouldn’t have been someone I’d want to hang out with.

At first I wasn’t sure what the invitation meant. But it turns out that it was a celebration of his life because he’d died suddenly and quite young. I searched on google and learned that he was a liberal (no one’s perfect), a lawyer (hopefully, a nice one) and only 62.

I read what his friends wrote, a nice guy, the life of the party, I’m going to miss your daily email.

I think that there is a higher power and that there are reasons for everything, but I still cried anyway over a young life and I might have cast him aside over not being my type and reminded myself of that age-old lesson. No one lives forever, but we can still be kind because you just never know. Though it is so damned sobering that we’d best hurry along and forget like the disheveled homeless man begging on the corner.

I am ashamed to admit that I did the same thing to my closest friend from high school. Karen and I remained in touch for a while after graduation a year apart, but life took us in different directions. She married and had kids and I did not, and we began to drift like two small boats being carried out by the current. And the phone calls became less and less to the point where I thought that maybe she just didn’t care.

When I moved out west, she sent me a letter telling me how much she missed me and how she thought of me every day while drinking her morning coffee out of the black and white mug I’d given her with the word “coffee” written in different languages.

The goofball I was dating told me to just ignore the letter, and thinking that I would show her, I took that awful advice. Years later I began thinking about her and looked for her online, and it was then that I came across her obituary.

I somehow got a hold of her mother and husband and learned that she died from allergies about two years earlier. Her husband said that they wondered what happened to me. He said that he knew that she wasn’t always so easy but that she meant well and that her daughter was difficult to raise and that Karen somehow got distracted.

I wish I could hold her and her that I love her, but all I can do now is try and make it up to her.  On the anniversary of her death, I go to synagogue and say Kaddish for her, make a donation in her memory and make sure her mother gets a card. I wasn’t the friend I could have been to her in the second half of her life, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to be idle now.

I always plan on being kinder, better, more compassionate – next time.

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