We were lucky.
We figured out (although you earlier than me) that we were better apart then we were together. Just like that…two roads diverged in a yellow wood.1 From that point, our friendship grew because it’s truly friendship, not love, that is blind.
I never expected that separation to be permanent. I expected to meet your wife and kids. I wanted to introduce you to my…um, dog.
I still have your numbers in my phone. I pretend that I’ll call them again because Hope is a healing spirit. She picks up when Courage completes her work. But Courage sometimes fails me, leaving no foothold for Hope. Your funeral was one such case.
From the first day we met until our last conversation, you continued to challenge me. Without fail, I left our interactions with more to think about, more to do. You never knew that. You thought I judged you.
I wish that I had talked to you then, met you one last time. I wish I had told everyone that you changed me for the better, as much in our separation as in our togetherness. That although we took separate roads, somehow you’ve stayed with me as I traveled. Because you did, my friend, and you do.
And that has made all the difference.2
1 (Frost line 1)