I stated in this post that I am going to write about past/current friendships for a learning exercise but they will not be in chronological order. The friend that shows up (figuratively speaking) will be featured.
I have been getting out and walking despite, or should I said because of the weather. I am an autumn\winter person, I don’t care how cold it gets. The only time I don’t walk or hike with the pups is rain because I will have to blow-dry them or if it’s so cold their pads bother them — which is rare but it does happen. I don’t mind walking alone in the rain but it’s hard to go out and leave them behind. Walking without them is really more of an exercise for me because I am not held up due to they’re sniffing every turd, piss-hole, tree, rock or leaf we come upon. I love being in the woods and I prefer it over neighborhoods (if I can ‘flick’ a dropped turd off into the brush instead of picking it up and carrying it back home, I’m all for it) but sometimes it is kinda fun walking by other peoples’ homes and checking out the landscaping, home design and decorations.
Anyway…friends. Hiking in the woods lately my friend JC visited me again, probably because the particular area I was roaming around in we had hiked together a time or two but also I imagine my current circumstances called her to me.
I met JC at one of my ‘old’ jobs. Actually we had worked together before in another area but not the same shifts so I didn’t know her, I’d only heard* of her. How that* goes is, people tell you all about someone based on their personal biases and pass it off as facts. We all do it; if asked, I can relay that someone seems (keyword I use) indiscreet based on my experiences with named person and how I decide what is or is not worthy of discretion. Someone else may feel differently. JC did not have a ‘good reputation’ via gossip. I do not value gossip, however, if I hear X state that Z dinged someone’s car and then drove away, I have a piece of information that may or may not be true or completely factual. I don’t do anything with it except file it.
When I finally met JC (as in worked with her) I did not know that she was the JC I’d heard about until another peer informed me. Oh-kay. Our interactions were of the professional banter and sarcasm variety. I found her invested in her career, very helpful and she cared about the clients. She had no problem asking questions if there was something that she didn’t know or wanted to know more and she was forthright with opinions and gratitude. She had a lot of energy and she liked to talk and she knew it; “just tell me to be quiet.” We appreciated each other, looked forward to working together, confided in each other and became friends. Not tight friends but we got together on occasion for dinner, a movie, a hike or just to hang out. Our big ‘thing’ besides hiking was books. We both loved the true-life adventure sort of books — especially if there was a movie.
As new friends do, we shared information. She had been divorced and raised her two children on her own; her daughter gave her trouble (I don’t remember the variety) and she seemed close to her son, they were both in high school at the time. She had put herself through school for her job, for which she was proud and she deserved it and she was also learning to become a Yoga instructor, she liked being busy and active and healthy. She was gregarious and a happy person. She was open-minded, understanding, caring, enthusiastic and forgiving.
We both worked at the organization that I wrote of here and I had been there years before she and she was still there when I left. Eventually she got another position at another facility, where she was much happier — as anyone would be under the circumstances, and she relocated. We kept in touch more frequently via text than in person: we both worked nights, which for those who do, YOU KNOW, in different parts of the state. My last text from her was (Sept. 2016) about her trip to the Cape, that she had met the person and saw the boat from a book/movie we had shared and included photos. She was so excited.
By April 2017 I had quit my job to hike the Appalachian Trail. I am sure I told her I was going to do it because I remember thinking (or maybe asking her) if she would be interested in doing it also. But she had the new position, her Yoga and her son had enlisted in the military and she was spending as much time with him as she could. I thought of her sometimes while I was out there but I never did text her ~ I actually rarely spent any time on my phone as I wrote about here.
The first week in June I got off the trail permanently and two days later a friend texted me and asked if I was aware that JC passed away. I was shocked. I’ve been surrounded by death for so long it doesn’t really phase me, it’s a part of the life cycle we all know is coming, but when it is someone you know, someone you’ve spent time with and enjoy, someone young and someone so full of life and an adventurous spirt ~ well, I was dumbfounded. I brooded about it for a couple of days and thought of her often for months. I still think of her. I think she is one of the few people I’ve met who would still be a friend if she could. JC is one of the reasons I have more faith than fear, she is one of the reasons that I won’t go back to a lifestyle of surviving instead of living, she’s one of the reasons I don’t put much faith in what people have to say about other people. Life isn’t fair and it’s especially cruel at times. I miss her and I thank her for her spirit and her life-lessons. ❤
~ #friendships: 8:23pm Sunday, Jan. 28’18