Fare ye well to a friend
Tracy B. Cieniewicz
"Sometimes people leave you half way through the wood. Do not let it grieve you, no one's gone for good."-Into the Woods
Saying goodbye to friends has been too regular of an occurrence for me lately.
I met the group of friends that I call family during the formative years of my adulthood. I also met my husband.
Both were more of a blessing to me than they will ever realize.
We have eaten, drank, and made merry for days on end.
We are artists, engineers, medical professionals, military, retail renegades, writers, musicians, and bums.
We have traveled miles together, literally and metaphorically.
We were not raised in the same house or even the same town, but we are indeed family.
Although our eclectic crowd has matured through college, career, marriage, and parenting, some things never changed.
Like Thomas-each of us always knew Thomas would save the day if our computers ever crashed, our stereo equipment ever needed installing, a CD needed burning, or an extra guy was needed to move furniture.
Thomas was always there if we needed him, but not anymore.
He moved to Ohio shortly before Christmas to work for the government.
Thomas has been home a few times and we all make a special effort to see him, but it's weird not having him here all of the time.
Thomas' leaving made me realize that you should never take your friends for granted.
And then there's Dave-while not always the most logical of our clan, Dave always had a couch for us to crash on, a meal to share, time to visit, and a story to tell.
Dave always had a smile for everyone he met, but not anymore.
The church literally couldn't hold all of Dave's family and friends at his funeral a few weeks ago.
At his wake that night, we all wondered aloud, "If he could only see how many people truly cared about him, would he still have chosen to take his own life?"
Our questions were as senseless as what Dave had done, but discussing it somehow eased our minds.
Dave's death made me realize that a phone call or a hug is never wasted on a friend.
And now Colleen-without a doubt, a gathering will not end before a Colleen story is told. And there are many.
Colleen is heading to New Jersey in search of a career and to try her hand at something she should have done a long time ago-stand-up comedy.
Her leaving will probably be the hardest for me to accept, for she is the person who introduced me to the wonderful family of friends I have described.
I will miss Colleen's frequent calls to me at work, having dinner with her family, laughing with her until my sides are ready to split, and solving the world's problems with her over a game of Trivial Pursuit. I will even miss helping Colleen clean her bedroom and rescuing her when her automobile leaves her stranded at 2 a.m.
Colleen's leaving has made me realize that a girlfriend can never be replaced.
I just hope my husband, John, understands that when we get our first long distance phone bill to New Jersey.