I realize part of the reason I occasionally feel so empty is that I don't spend as much time with people as I used to. I remember being on the phone with a friend soon after D died, when I burst into tears. "Why are you crying?" she asked very gently. "I can't think of anything to say!" I told her honestly. For me, that was a particularly cruel twist of fate.
That self-confession has stayed with me. There have been many times recently when I am with people and I can think of absolutely nothing to talk about. I have found it helps to go out with more then one friend at a time. That way if all my words dry up, I have a backup friend to fill in the conversational gaps.
This week I made a date to meet a dear friend at Starbucks after school. I taught her children for a total of four years and we are interconnected in countless ways. The closer I got to my next Pumpkin Spice Latte, the more I worried about having enough words to carry a conversation.
Well, kill the fatted calf: the prodigal tongue has returned. We sat down at 4:30 pm for a short chat and an exchange of Christmas gifts, and the next time we looked at our watches it was 9:30 pm. In between, we talked about our kids, our jobs, loss, and life. She showed me different ways to tie the darling scarf she gave me, and I laughed at how often her girls and husband were texting her to see when she would be home.
D used to be amazed when my friends and I would shut down restaurants with our long talks. "What can you possibly talk about for that long?" he'd ask me. I couldn't always fill in all the details for him, but even the short version left him reeling. Some people feel depleted by long conversations. Imagine that.
So, perhaps another piece has been fit into this puzzle of healing. Talking fills me up, and I seem to be able to carry on long conversations again with friends. Thanks, C, for just being your normal, wonderful self. Full of compassion and laughter, you light up any room you are in. Married Daughter has long said of C, "Mom, she is not just a friend: she is a quality friend."
And a quantity friend as well: lots of words to share, lots of words to listen to.
Starbucks and friends? I'm baaaaaack.