Monday, August 12, 2013

What Do You Miss The Most?

Delle's scarf
On Saturday I went to Halsted Street Days, a street festival in the heart of Chicago’s gay community. I’d been there many times over the years, and have watched it grow more mainstream: Walmart and Marriott had booths.

But as I walked through the crowds, past the bars and my favorite Chinese restaurant, I began to think of friends long-gone. There were many, not all of them from the time in my life when I was involved in the AIDS community. And when I thought of them, there always seemed to be one thing that immediately came to mind.

I miss Mary Ellen’s laugh: always loud and unrestrained, occasionally embarrassing but always sincere.

I miss Steve’s work ethic and child-like enthusiasm.

I miss Delle’s wisdom and impressive spirituality.

I miss John’s calm assurances.

I miss Dennis’ constant flirting.

Right after a friend dies, you’re numb and angry and inconsolable. Later, when the grief is less raw – more like a scab – that’s when little things pop into your head. It might be a memory of something the two of you did together, or a conversation late at night. It might be a physical trait or a personality quirk. Every time you think of them, that one special thing is what you remember.

Whatever it is, it’s probably the thing you admired – and miss – the most about your friend.

What do you miss the most about your friend?




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