This has been a sad week for me. On Monday I learned that one of my oldest friends passed away unexpectedly. He was the youngest son of my mother's best friend and was the closest thing I have to a brother. Born in the same year, we truly grew up together. I went to his house after school every day. I have many fond memories of being forced to watch He-Man and G.I. Joe, which wouldn't have been my cartoons of choice, but were still a treat, since I wasn't allowed to watch TV at home. Then there were the Skipbo tournaments, swimming at the lake, and the ski trips where he was always much more of a daredevil than I. Even though I hadn't seen him often in the past 10 years, as life had taken us in different directions, he was still always a part of my consciousness because he was "family." I frequently heard updates about him and his family through my mother, and on the occasions where we were able to get together, my boys just loved playing with him and his young son.
Yesterday was his funeral service, and though I am not a public crier, even I couldn't stop the tears from flowing. I was so touched by how many people he was loved by and had freely loved. One of the most beautiful parts of the service was when his wife read some excerpts from his journals. Apparently in recent years, he had always carried a notebook around to jot down thoughts, and much of what was in there was descriptions of days with his son. In fact, my two boys remember him as "the guy with the notebook!" because when we last saw him earlier this summer, he let them play with it. Unbeknownst to me, he had also let them write in it. I learned this at his wake, when his wife told me that when she was flipping through his journal this week, she saw the names of C & O where C had printed them. In the excerpt she read aloud, he described seeing a firetruck with his son and dipping their toes in a pond. Transmitted clearly through every word was his pure enjoyment of fatherhood and pride in his son. What a gift it will be for his family, to be able to turn to his actual words for comfort and memories.
All of this got me to thinking about how important journaling can be, not just for your own soul, but for those around you. As I said when I started this blog months ago, I used to love to journal, but never find the time anymore. I had hoped that the online format would make it easier for me to keep up, but it was still hard to find the time. But I am going to try to recommit to it now. Even if my boys never read what I write here, I want to be able to come back and relive all those little memories that I would otherwise forget. Because simple things like firetrucks and wet toes are what life is all about. And I want to make sure I remember that.