There are times throughout our lives when we find ourselves in tough situations. It’s in those times that you look around you, and oftentimes find fewer people surrounding you. For me, the older I get, the fewer people I find there before the tough times even start. Life takes us in different directions, and sometimes circumstance or distance makes it hard to stay close. Friends become fewer and more precious.
When I was young, my dad had lots of friends in town. Most of them he saw daily at the coffee shop, or other spots around town, although he may not spend much of his free time with them. But a lot of times, if he needed something, he could call. Some of them he would go fishing with when he could. Then something happened in his life that really put people to the test. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The worse it got, and the more he was stuck at home, the less contact with people he had. And then, he went to the nursing home and it seemed like all bets were off. Some people care enough to ask about him. A few even have good intentions of going to visit, but don’t find the time.
There is one friend, though, that has stayed constant. He was a friend of my Dad’s in high school, and later roommates in college. When I was growing up, we saw him on occasion, but not regularly because he lived in another state. Now that Dad’s in the nursing home, Gary is his most loyal friend. He still lives out-of-state, but he visits when he can, usually when he comes to visit his mom. In between visits, he calls sometimes or calls my mom to check on him. He sends gifts. He sends postcards or hats from vacations. He lets my Dad know that he’s not forgotten. He has gone out of his way to do anything he could think of to make life easier.
He’s the kind of friend that everybody should have, but few probably do.
And, I’m incredibly grateful for the way he’s treated my dear dad…even before I was born.