In the past ten days, I – and much of my small, hometown community – received two bouts of awful news. One of the two was already, truly, too much. Having the other one come about only days after the first was, for lack of better word, shocking.
Over the past three years, I have – for better or for worse – grown apart from the greater number of my high school classmates. It was a natural process, one that happened over time as each of us got respectively busier and busier with our courses, our extracurriculars, our midterms, our friends and drama at various schools across the country.
And I’m not resentful about this. People grow, people change. It is, of course, a process that’s always a bit saddening and nostalgic, particularly in retrospect, but it is a part of life. I’ve come to accept that.
But despite my acceptance of this natural distance and growth, I’ve realized in the past week that it does not – in any way – correlate to a diminishing of care.
My high school friends make up at least 17% of my Facebook friends list. I haven’t talked to at least 10% of that 17% since they or I graduated high school. There was no way these statistics could have prepared me for just how much time I spent thinking about these events.
I never really believed the old adage “Distance/Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” but perhaps there is quite a bit of truth to it. Because even after all this time, I still care tremendously about my elementary, middle, and high school classmates. (As a writer, it is infuriating that words can sometimes only say so much.)
When I received the news, I Google-searched desperately because I didn’t want to believe them. I cried. I sat and stared at my computer for a while after that, refusing to believe that was I reading, even after it had been confirmed in various places. I got upset randomly in the middle of my workday if they came to mind. I’m upset now.
When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter if you’re “only Facebook friends.” Because if you’ve crossed paths with someone in the past, if you were friends and had them as a part of our life and loved them, but only grew apart because of distance and time, then you’re still going to care. And you’re probably always going to care.
And that is probably the best and worst thing about friends. Because you’re always going to care, and sometimes it’s going to suck, but you’re going to keep on caring anyway simply because.
I’m sorry. I realize I am being incredibly vague about what happened. In regards to the first news, I’m not entirely comfortable divulging the details. But for the second…
A best friend from second grade; an incredibly close friend through elementary school; a friend in middle school; and an-always-smiling, wonderfully comforting and familiar face in high school recently got into an accident while hiking in Oregon.
Alysia fell approximately 40 feet, shattered her L2 vertebrae, and is now paralyzed from the waist down. She has since undergone two surgeries and will be continuing treatment as well as physical therapy in the coming weeks.
She has been incredibly strong, brave, and resilient through the entire process, but she and her family can receive all the help they can receive. I know you may not know her, but if you’d like to help share some love and support, please do so here.