My friend Constance
On the Bright Side
September 2, 2023
My friend Constance has been on my mind for the last month or so. We've been good friends for several years now, even though we are very different from one another. We have lunch together every now and then, and we've taken some very fun day trips together. I've spent holidays at her home, and other days sharing cookies or popcorn and watching movies. She's been to my home, too.
We're not the kind of friends that need constant interaction. Sometimes weeks or months go by between visits, but I look forward happily and eagerly to get-togethers with Constance as she is a truly delightful person, an exceptional human being and a very good and supportive friend. We've cried together, we've laughed together, and we've shared a lot.
I'm so happy that I've gotten to know her. I so enjoy her Divine/magical/spiritual energy and the fact that she is an excellent listener and conversationalist. We talk about all sorts of things, not just small talk but real, heartfelt conversations. Even though we are not in touch daily, I feel she knows me better than most.
Lately, though, for some reason something always seems to come up and I haven't made the call to set up another lunch date with her. I guess I thought there would always be time.
There wasn't. At this point, I must acknowledge that I should be speaking of Constance in the past tense. She passed away last month, in early August. It's hard to speak in the past tense though, because I still sense her presence – she is still here, in some way, with me and the many other friends and family who knew her and loved her.
It's hard for me to imagine the physical world without Constance in it, she was that bright of a light in this sometimes-dismal old world. I will forever be grateful that she was a friend of mine, as I also know and appreciate how many other lives she touched and made better by her very being.
I wish now that I had made the call, to invite her to lunch or dinner or some other activity. I thought there would be time. She was younger than me, she was happy and healthy. She was in a wonderful relationship with Tim, she was active and busy, she was spiritual and non-judgmental and open to all of life's experiences; she was loved and appreciated by so many people.
But life is uncertain and can turn on a dime, and no one is guaranteed tomorrow (Constance was taken by a surprise brain aneurysm). From time to time, we get reminders of the uncertainties of life, hard as they may be, and that may be one of Constance's gifts to those of us who are left:
Make that call. Don't let too much time pass between contact with people you love and care about. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone.
Take the time to connect with people you care about. Tell them how you feel, tell them you appreciate them, tell them you love them.
One thing I can take comfort in is that Constance knew how I felt about her and our friendship, and I knew how she felt about me. We were lucky that we were able to communicate that to each other without embarrassment or regret. I understand she was that way with so many others too; it's part of the recurring gift that was Constance.
My free-spirited and magical and ever-curious friend is still on my mind today, even though I cannot call her to set up a lunch or some other get-together. Or even just have a phone or text conversation. But I can send the message out into the Universe with my heart that I still love my friend, and I miss her, and I believe she will receive it. Perhaps I was thinking about her so much this month, and am thinking about her today, because she was and is somehow tapping me on my shoulder and smiling and telling me to keep on living and loving and learning.
I will, my friend. I will.
RIP Constance Williams, 1955-2023.
© 2023 Mel Makaw. Mel, local writer/photographer and author of On the Bright Side, a Collection of Columns (available locally at Tehachapi Arts Center and Healthy Hippie Trading Co), welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.