Some things have happened over the past few weeks that have made me think about people that are no longer in my life. In part it's been seeing old friends and students, in part it's been random events that have made me wonder what [name of person] would have made of things.
The vast majority of these people are those that naturally slipped away - going away to school, marriage, leaving a job, etc. are all perfect opportunities to miss catching up with people and their lives. That's why we have school reunions, right? They're our chance to gossip about those that haven't come to the reunion, to share memories of each other and to wonder What Ever Happened To, as well as to revisit old grudges and dislikes. I've had great luck with my reunions, but other friends of mine? Not so much. The left over angst sometimes is difficult (as one friend said "they were all so happy to see me and acted as though we were friends, but back then I knew they really didn't like me so why pretend now that they did?").
And then there are those that are no longer part of your life because of a misunderstanding, a break-up or other catastrophe. The reasons then seemed great, but now you can't really remember why. And you miss that person, wanting to say "sorry" or "can't we find a way to work it out?".
I've done some searching for a number of these people. A few I've found; most I haven't found (despite all the reports to the contrary, not everyone has a web presence or online life!). And found or not, there are always those nagging doubts: do they want to hear from me? will they be as sexy/smart/funny/understanding/intriguing as they were Back When? will I have changed in ways that they don't like? is it too late to become friends again? would an overture be appreciated? If I were on the receiving end, would there be residual anger or embarrassment? What's the appropriate time frame in which to respond (too fast, and I'll look desperate, too slow and I'm clearly only being polite)?
One of the odd quirks I have is that I remember birthdays - one just passed for someone I haven't thought about in, well, 30 or so years. It was only seeing another friend that brought this person to mind, and I now know where they work. Should I send a card or note? Should I ignore the date? Does this person miss me, or am I too part of their distant past?
All of this to say that if I haven't been in touch recently, I'm sorry. I do miss you. Do you miss me?**
** and yes, I'm aware that a semi-anonymous blog post is not going to help with those I've lost touch with over the years. Still, it's "out there" as They say. Can't hurt, right?