My childhood friend, Carl, recently passed away. He was the victim of one of those fast cancers which seem to come from nowhere and in a few brief weeks, sweep us away leaving friends and family stunned.

Carl was an energetic, productive man and a valued member of his community. He told me once that he refused to accept getting old. I guess, in a way, he was successful in that desire, for when he died he was still full of strength and plans for the future.

Our personal tragedy was the fact that Carl and I had lost touch for some 50 years and only reconnected at our high school reunion three years ago. Our friendship seemed to reawaken and continue on as if no intervening gap existed; those boyhood days evolving into adult adventures and under-takings. Ten days before he was gone we had talked by phone planning an October visit. He wanted to put the visit off until, I quote him here, “I am past all of this and we can enjoy ourselves.”

He told me that, “I know I’m being a little optimistic here but why not be
optimistic? What do you gain otherwise?”

Like Carl, I am trying to be optimistic, trying not to waste too much time, and
enjoying my successes rather than worrying about my failures. I’m also trying not to waste opportunities to be a friend and, although not exactly how we planned it, I will visit Carl this October, not to say goodbye but to simply
affirm our friendship by keeping a promise.

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