I Wish My Best Friend Was Still Alive

He was 69 and I was 23.  I was married and he was single.  He had just come out of hospital having had a stroke that left him with right side paralysis.  I was a fit and healthy young woman.  I was working part-time and he was retired.

The only things we had in common were our Catholic faith and intelligence.  But I should add, he was far more intelligent than I.  He was the secretary of Mensa. 

I was astonished to find him one day, dragging himself up all 26 of my front steps, just to show me a religious article he thought I might be interested in.  He was right; I was.

When I first saw him in his own quarters I thought he really shouldn't be living alone.  He pretended not to notice.  He was fiercely independent and was prepared to sacrifice a very great deal in order to remain that way.

After a while my conscience told me I should call him once in a while to see how he was getting on.  We ended up calling each other nearly every day.

There was no physical attraction between us and this was something we both made aware to each other.  We weren't very familiar with each other on a personal level.  Yet we knew each other well.

We both loved controversy and enjoyed writing letters and articles.  He detected, from the outset, my lack of training and coached me until I could write proficiently.  Now I am a best selling author and have four more books along the way.

He came from a very political family with both parents having been in federal politics and two brothers in state politics.  He was extremely erudite and made it his ministry to supply me with good books.  He was a retired lawyer, so he was able to give me an angle I would otherwise not have known.

That's a little background.

I always felt I was different, that I often saw things differently from other people.  I always felt I was hyper critical and I knew at times I was too outspoken.  I didn't gel easily with people.  It's hard to explain.  It's not that I'm rude; it's that I seem to have authority.  And with that came a lot of responsibility.

My friend was the one person who felt at ease with me and, in a way, in the same boat.  We always saw eye to eye.  It was fantastic having someone who not only was not intimidated by me but could nurture me as well.

This is what he said of me:

At the time I first knew you, some years ago (15?), I had made little progress.  I was still an emotional, psychological and social cripple.  You saw through me to the good underneath.  Stare at the hour hand of a clock, and you would be inclined to believe it was not moving.  Go away for a while, and when you return you will see that it has moved.  Then, I was like a man wading through treacle, making very slow progress because he was unable to lift his foot out.  You, so to speak, by your patience and tolerance, enabled me to lift my foot out, so I was able to walk faster, but still slowly.

     Since then, several people have given me a push, often unknown to them.  I fell that each such person has given me a bigger push.  Yet, each one would have been unable, were it not for the pushes which went before.  You, on the other hand, have as far as I recall, never given me a push, yet as I have said, without you, nothing.  Naturally, tough I have to give others credit, too, I credit you with the whole of my improvement.

     You will be pleased to hear that this ( improvement) has extended itself to strangers, too.  Carefully selected strangers it is true, but still strangers, so that I estimate that I have made an almost complete recovery.  There is a residuum of human weakness, but this I find easy to live with.  Indeed, it is like getting out of gaol, and I am happier now that I have ever been before, despite my state of health.

     Even in my spiritual life, as you will be aware, I have laboured under difficulties.  Well, I can at long last see light at the end of the tunnel.  Do not misunderstand me, I still have a considerable path to travel, but now I can see the light.

     Following my initial thought, expressed at the beginning of the letter, I was inspired to put our relationship under the microscope.  Now neither can see the inward vision of the other.  So I am going to attempt to explain my concept of you.

     First, unexpectedly, you see eye to eye with me in the most important subject, religion.  I have explained why this was against the odds in my first letter, but there is more.  In the matter of the Novus Ordo I was a bit embarrassed at my change of belief and hesitated to put it to you, lest you become more seriously embarrassed, and was delighted to learn that you had arrived at the same position independently.  Indeed, you are, as far as I know, the only person whose judgement I would trust, if I had to.

     So far the letter has been written on the date at the head of it, but from here on it is being rounded off.  Now you are more demonstrative than I, but I would hardly call you demonstrative.  Yet I am conscious when I am with you of a deep, solid, quiet, calm rapport, which is very reassuring.  It means that I do not have to worry about you, nor, I assume, do you have to worry about me.

They say it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.  In terms of the love that best friends have, as he put it, a deep, solid, quiet, calm rapport which is very reassuring, I knew real love, so much so, that now he is gone, I can still live on it. 

perseverer perseverer
56-60, F
1 Response Feb 18, 2010

Thankyou Presence. How very pleasant to find someone who can relate to the kind of experience I am relating. I am very happy for you too, that you were privileged to have such a person in your life.