Dear Beverly

Decades after I last saw you,
I wrote you a letter but didn’t
know where to send it.
I wanted you to know how
much it meant to me that you
included me in your family.
We met in 7th grade, and
soon discovered that we
were born a day apart at
the same local hospital.
Our mothers were
there at the same time.
We always joked that we
were in adjoining bassinets.

As we got to know each other
better, I started spending
nights or weekends at your house.
I never invited you into my home
in all those years that we were friends.
I was embarrassed and ashamed
at my father’s alcoholism and our
less than adequate living conditions.
I didn’t even know the word for what
my father’s troubles were and I didn’t
have the words or courage to tell you
how deeply it affected me.
And you never asked me why,
perhaps both of us too shy.
But being able to spend time
with you and your family,
even joining you on
vacations, was a nice break
and gave me a sense
of normalcy.

As we got older, we went
on dates together with
guys, you mostly with
Bill, who would end up
being your husband one day
and father of your boy.
Our lives took very different
paths after high school however
and we lost touch. You went on
to become an accomplished
nurse and I went the way of
spirituality and communal life.
Some years later we
reconnected back in Orlando.
You and Bill had divorced and
you were about to marry
another. I found out that
your father had passed
away from Alzheimers
many years prior when
he was in his fifties.
It took him young.

We met one other time
when I learned your
mother had passed,
but we drifted apart
again…never really
regaining the friendship
we had forged before.
And then came the day
I sat in stunned silence
as I read your obituary.
I never found out what had
happened…how your life
had ended. I hadn’t
used the opportunity
to let you know how
much you meant to me.
But I like to think that
love doesn’t have boundaries
and you know how much I cared.
Love, Gayle

I too tweaked the prompt today but this really impacted my life and I wanted to share it. I truly believe that all my loved ones know that I love them.

Our newest team member, Kelly, asks us to write love letters to someone before it’s too late or let someone know that we care for them over at dVerse Poets:  http://dversepoets.com/2015/10/27/im-going-to-miss-you-when-youre-gone/

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40 Comments

  1. This is so often the case, isn’t it? People who impact our lives greatly in our younger years are those we drift away from as the years go on just by living, I think. Not intentionally, but it happens. Perhaps it really doesn’t hit us until something happens to one of those people. I remember when a former college acquaintance passed away. I didn’t know her well, but it caused me to reflect on my OWN mortality. If she could die, so could I. Your poem shows us the importance of letting others know what they mean to us while we can. AFTER reading an obituary, it is too late! Nicely expressed, Gayle.

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    • Yes, it does seem to be the case, Mary. We also think we have all the time in the world…until we don’t. Thanks for sharing some of your thoughts with me, Mary.

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      Reply
  2. Gayle this is heartbreaking, though the comfort might be that she probably knew much more than you ever said… but I can see how much it would have meant to remain friends over all those years. I have friends I do not know what happened to… a great piece of writing.

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    • I think she did know how much she meant to me, Bjorn. I may not have formally said so, but we spent many years together sharing and being close…we both knew what we meant to each other. I have no doubt. Thank you, Bjorn.

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  3. I like to think that somewhere, Beverly can see this. It sounds like you had a lovely friendship, and it can be hard when we drift apart over the years, but how wonderful that the love remains.

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  4. Excellent, and awful. I think we all have the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘whatever happened to’ and the ‘I wish I had called’… Well done.

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  5. This really caught me by surprise. I loved the easy conversational tone, and how you were quietly grateful for her friendship in your earlier years. Very well done.

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  6. I like the letter approach Gayle as it gave me a story and journey of your friendship ~ Pretty much our friendships during childhood ends us like this – disconnected and never saying much after its too late ~ Enjoyed this personal share ~

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    • Thank you, Grace. I felt like I had to explain why our connection was especially important to me. She and her family really filled an empty space. It was no small thing.

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  7. Oh, dang, this got to me. That story of the alcoholic parent is so often repeated. I suspect that Beverly will receive this heartfelt message, Gayle. I’ve recently reconnected with my childhood best friend. It’s as though we were never apart. I need to call her soon.

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    • I suspect that she has received this message too, Victoria. I’ve had dreams about her through the years and feel that she’s “been around” so to speak. I’m still friends with two sisters that I grew up with and whenever we get together it’s like we just pick up where we left off…effortlessly. What a blessing.

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      Reply
  8. This brought tears to my eyes.. we should always try to seize the day and tell our loved ones how much they mean to us.

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    • I think I’m much more forthcoming in letting people know how I feel these days than when I was younger. I felt more shy and reserved in expressing those things back then. Thanks for sharing, Sanaa.

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  9. This made me so sad. I am sorry and I hope she can see it from up above.

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    Reply
  10. Friends who have
    no requirements for
    money..
    cliques..
    political
    or religious
    orientation
    or ethnicity
    are friends
    of Nature
    True
    who
    are
    one
    with
    us.. and
    these friends
    no matter how
    far away
    or gone..
    live
    on..
    in eYes
    of We..:)

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    Reply
  11. Such a poignant narration of friendship that many may not be privileged to share. Wonderful take Gayle!

    Hank

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    Reply
  12. A moving piece. There is something about those friendships…we may drift apart, but the love remains.

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  13. Didn’t know where you were going till the end. Then my heart jumped and landed in my tear ducts. Your special friend deserved you and your remembrance today. I’m sure she read it over your shoulder Thx for sharing Gayle.

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    Reply
  14. This is really, really moving.

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    Reply
  15. Lovely. I have friends from the past I don’t keep in touch with well enough.Why do we neglect so much of our wonderful history?

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    Reply
    • Thanks, Barbara. I think it’s a legitimate thing when your lives take very different paths and perhaps you don’t have so much in common anymore. That was certainly the case with my friend and I but it didn’t take away from the warmth and caring that I received when I was so close to her and her family.

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      Reply
  16. A beautiful letter-poem, Gayle. I know that feeling of being ashamed of home, and the drinking, a secret we didnt want other kids to know. Through her, you got to see what a normal family looked like. But it sounds like her life had its hard times later, while yours led you to peace.Almost a reversal of roles. Anyway, it was wonderful to read this tribute to a cherished friend.

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    Reply
    • Thank you, Sherry. Sounds like you know too well how it felt and for that I’m sorry. It’s a rough way to grow up. There definitely was trouble in her family that I found out later. Life sure can be ironic.

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      Reply
  17. Your poem is so powerful and so personal. I think the prompt from Kelly sent us into those past regrets. And for us a little too late. I think I also felt I hadn’t told my friend how much she meant to me but she knew as I had a dream about her and her family also know and we have met up often this year. I also remember my mother regretting losing contact with a close childhood friend. We forget what families try to hide but often others do know. Her family seemed to offer you a place to be a child and friendship for their daughter.

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    Reply
    • I think that prompt opened up a lot of us to share some very real emotions with each other, which I think is a good thing. Like you said, I think both our friends and their families knew that we appreciated what they gave us. And it’s nice that you have met up with her family.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  18. Sandy Jordan

     /  November 7, 2015

    So beautiful! I too had a close friend named Beverly! I have lost touch with her!
    I have lost too many friends too young/ I was just talking to a friend who passed away at 49. I miss him so much!

    Like

    Reply
  19. Thank you, Sandy, and what a coincidence that you had a close friend named Beverly also. I was surprised to learn that my best friend in elementary school had passed away too. 49 is way too young!

    Like

    Reply

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