We were born 20 days apart with just 2 houses sitting between our own. My dad taught him how to swim; his dad taught me how to ride a bike.
We were always outside, waiting for the tell-tale whistle from his parents at dusk, letting us know it was time to come in for dinner and bed.
In our early teens, he would climb the tree in front of my house, clamber up the roof and knock. There was a landing just outside of my window and we would sit there, contemplating life until we were caught.
His parents had been married just shy of 45 years when his mom succumbed to cancer this past September.
The funeral was held in late October and just 5 days later, with the fragrance of the funeral flowers still permeating the living room, his dad passed away from sudden cardiac arrest, right into my friend’s arms. It was two days before their 45th anniversary and we all collectively knew, he had died from a broken heart.
My mother and I had wept during Mr. White’s eulogy for his wife. He spoke of their first date- when Mrs. White had invited him to lie underneath a Christmas tree to watch the twinkling lights.
Mr. White then compared those twinkling lights to the thousands upon thousands of prayers family and friends had sent up to God as cancer ravaged his beloved’s body.
And then, just like that, he was gone, too.
My friend and I stood in the kitchen where he had administered CPR to his dad, just hours before and we hugged, screamed and sobbed. At 39 years-old we still felt like children, never ever having been in his parents’ house without them there.
Shocked and numb, I drove away, contemplating the loss.
Mr. White’s eulogy had been full of love and awe for his wife and the life they had shared.
And I wondered,
“What is a well-lived life?”
Have I lived one?
Am I living one?
In this distracted day-in-age, it feels all too easy to lose sight of the most important part of life:
Our connection to others.
And if that is the meaning of life,
Then I’ve lived it well.
Let us all lie under the Christmas tree and watch the twinkling lights.