Mar 13th, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Aging Brings Death of Friends

One of the most difficult of life’s experiences, as we age, is the loss of long time friends.  It seems to come suddenly, when, for the most part, the process has been in place for weeks or months.  We don’t hear from someone for a long time, and we wonder.  We fail to be in touch, and we excuse ourselves.  We get out of the habit of inquiring of those who might know.  We just lose touch.

Then, suddenly, unexpectedly, sometimes shockingly, the news comes.  “Oh, haven’t you heard, she died a week ago?”  The ache settles in.  The awareness that you hadn’t taken any initiative to find out how she was doing catches you up.  The sudden realization that another one is gone begins to strike you.  Living out your own agendas finds you often unawares and frequently forgetting that others, like you, are aging too. They have their issues and needs and circumstances that are contributing to your not hearing from them.  What’s going on is what goes on with all of us as the curve of life takes on its inevitable shape.

Such loss, even when you suspect something is going on, still comes as a shock.  Losing our friends is like losing one of our abilities.  We depended on their being available, at least once in a while and when we thought of it and when we needed them.  We missed the obituary in the local paper.  We hadn’t heard from any of her relatives when she was in the hospital.  We just assumed if everything weren’t all right, we would know.   And, then in a casual conversation, someone drops the message, quite casually, “did you hear?”  The room grows quite still and the denials raise their protests, “it couldn’t be,”  “why I just talked with her a week or so ago.” Another dear soul has gone on.  And you are left in the middle of a busy street, with everyone rushing by, while you try to adjust to this unwelcome news.

Adjusting to the Loss

The adjustment, in spite of your other agendas, begins immediately.  The recognition that this dear, dear saint with whom you spent so many wonderful moments is now gone. You meant to go see her.  You thought about her often.  You wanted to tell her just how special she has been.  But, now?

Another blow hits you as you continue your own trek toward the count down of losses and absences, and hurts.  You must “suck it up” and realize that this is what you have in store, losing another friend, hearing some more bad news, coming to the time when you must say another good bye.

And, this time you recognize that the adjustment hits particularly close to home.  They all do now.  Friends are fewer and more precious and rarer.  Their loss is more intense.  Your own consciousness of what it means becomes more prominent.  You must go about your need to say your good byes and ready yourself for the next one. It will come, and too soon.  Such adjustments are quite common now, as you find your 90’s or even 80’s offering up their need for you to be ready.  Being ready means equipping yourself to deal with grief and recognizing that loneliness from loss of friends intensifies as we age.  Being ready means that saying goodbye carries with it its special moment, its peculiar ache and its own finality.

Being ready means that your own spirit engages that of another, whose life had and will continue to have a significance that will always be there. It means that among the treasures in your memory and heart will be the recollections you will cherish from now on.

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