Today I'm not thinking about the big picture footprints that this project is about. I'm thinking about something closer to home; the "footprints" or impact our lives have on our friends.
Yesterday I got the news that a boy I knew at school had passed away. I write 'boy' about this 40-something man because I hadn't seen him in over thirty years so it is as a boy that I picture him. A mutual friend has been keeping me - along with many others - up to date on his health. I think all of us on the email list collectively held our breath each time he took a turn for the worst and sighed in relief when he rallied. I doubt I'm alone in the sadness I feel today over the loss of one so young.
He was part of an extraordinary group of men who have remained close friends, some since early high school, some earlier than that. I think the sadness I feel today is on their behalf. I, too, have maintained close friendships with a group of women I've known since my teen years. It would be impossible to be friends with someone for such a long time and not have an impact on their lives. I imagine his friends are keenly feeling the loss of someone who's held their affection and loyalty for such a long time.
Up until yesterday I had never thought about what it would feel like to lose one of my best friends. My friends are all wonderful women, each of whom has had a positive influence and impact on my life. I feel great love for all of them. I like to imagine us all still getting together when we're well into our twilight years. We've shared much over the years and I hope we'll continue to do so.
The 'boy' about whom I write leaves behind a wife and family. Their grief must be enormous and I don't mean to belittle that in any way. I'm just thinking about the other 'boys' in that group today and the loss that they're feeling, too.
Rest in peace, Mac. I'm sure you've left gentle footprints on your friends' lives.