This week I lost two friends from my high school class of 1960. There is nothing surprising about that when you consider that my classmates are all about 79 years old. What is surprising, at least to me, is how accustomed one can, even must become, to these losses.
It is not as if these deaths and others that have been occurring more frequently do not matter. They most certainly do. They certainly matter to the sons and daughters of the deceased. They matter to their grandchildren. They matter to their friends and the community in which they lived. As classmates from long ago these deaths still matter to me.
First came word that Bruno Z had died. I had not seen or heard from him since our graduation in 1960. Yet, I clearly remember him. He was such a nice guy; his big smile was always on his face.
Next came word that Norma G had died. She had caught my eye back then. We took many rides in my car back then. Her mom and dad knew me and liked me. To my chagrin, Norma had another boy that she liked better. We parted as friends. I had not seen or talked to her since 1960.
So, how did I react when the news of their deaths reached me? I wasn’t shocked. Instead, I found myself seeking reassurance in the obituaries that were written about them. I wanted to know that they had lived full lives and that they had families who would carry on. Both had and that was all I needed to know.
After a couple of tears and a brief prayer, I was ready to move on. I will never completely forget either one of them. But I recognize the reality that comes at my age; I could be next.