Precious Sunsets: A Simple Meditation on Friendship, Love and Loss

Precious Sunsets: A Simple Meditation on Friendship, Love and Loss

The sunsets are remarkably breathtaking in Africa and in New Mexico. But sunsets are inevitable wherever we live. No matter how gorgeous, they remind us that another day has passed. We can never do the same day over again unless, of course, we have been snatched up and into the film Groundhog Day.

I was reminded of this once again just a few days ago. Four of us, old friends now since my move to New Mexico 17 years ago, were having a reunion/birthday lunch at Farm & Table. There was a soft breeze; the clouds were puffy and dark in places, indicating a possible future rain, a perfect fall day in Albuquerque. The flies were kind enough to leave us pretty much to ourselves until they bombarded us when our dessert arrived. But who could blame them?

Because one of us moved away two years ago, we had not all dined together in this time. We had so much catching up to do, but mostly, we laughed and remembered all the things that no other table of four anywhere could remember or laugh about. After about three hours, when we were the only people left, we finally said goodbye, not knowing with any certainty when we could — or if we could — all be together again.

Ah, there are sunsets in friendship and in love, even if we never stop loving. People not only move, but they move on. And so do we. We retire, move, age, become ill and eventually, die. This is the circle of life.

Just the other day, my book club met. We are writers, editors, retired lawyers and intellectuals to a person. Nowhere else could I find this particular book club. We are opinionated, interrupting and passionate about our literature. I think it is probably true that we always were. So fortunate we have been to be able to find one another in Albuquerque. And we always thank each other for our outstanding conversations that could never take place in the same way anywhere else.

This past week, I was on the phone with my mentor in San Francisco. We have been on the phone for many years now, except when I do make it to San Francisco. He read my memoir, Myopia, for the past 16 out of the 30 years it took me to finish it. No one else could have possibly aided my growth and insight in the same gentle way. Sadly, the woman who edited my memoir and convinced me to keep working at it, has had her final sunset, and is no longer here to laugh and celebrate with all of us. I miss her dearly. No one else could have convinced me to revise one more line of the pesky thing!

I could go on and on with the long list of people who have enriched my life and made it possible for me to be who I am, someone I can actually love and appreciate, on most days.

This week I will attend a funeral for a beloved colleague. He retired only one year ago, and then he was tragically killed in an automobile accident over Labor Day. He lived and breathed for the social work community in New Mexico. He made it possible for my small seminar group in psychoanalysis to obtain our continuing education credits. This group has been in existence now for at least 15 years, perhaps 16; I’m not sure. If not for his generosity, this group might have seen its sunset a long time ago. I am so glad that I wrote him thank-you notes on real paper.

People. We must appreciate them, even in these crazy times when our world, as we know it, may see its final sunset.

I guess my point, in case you’ve lost it by now, is that every second, every moment, every day and year, each and every person, is only here once. As my sister once conveyed in an art collage, there is only a one-way ticket on this train, and this is clearly stated in the contract, even if it is often in very small print.

Let people know you appreciate and love them. Thank them for the smallest things and the biggest things and all that go in between, all the things that make your life better in any way. The opportunity may not present itself again.

As we said goodbye…

Read my post on Learning a New Language, Gaining a Family here.

Iftar meal with Muhsine, Salih, and my Turkish language “family.” May Muhsine and Salih thrive in Dallas.

Iftar meal with Muhsine, Salih, and my Turkish language “family.” May Muhsine and Salih thrive in Dallas.








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