For the past two days, these lyrics by Miranda Lambert have been stuck in my mind. I’m sad and hurting, even if it is selfish to be so. A dear friend of mine has died, someone unfortunately I haven’t seen in two years while I have been living in Japan, but he was a friend to me for the better part of ten years. I met Burt in my first year of high school, we shared many of the same classes and many of the same friends. Going to a small school, everyone pretty much knew each other, but more than that we were great friends. Burt is that kind of person everyone loved, he always had a smile on his face and a genuinely outgoing personality. Every day, we would laugh our way through Spanish class, I’m pretty sure we called each other by our “Spanish” names even when we weren’t in class. Homecoming dances and birthday parties and school plays it was the kind of friendship that just worked, one you assume will last forever. Once college rolled around, many friendships drifted apart or talked less, but every time I talked to Burt, it was like time hadn’t passed at all. We would often run into each other in Annapolis at the bars or the mall and chat about our lives. There were so many great memories, which makes me feel all the worse now that every time we said, “We have to hang out soon, we have to catch up,” we would go our separate ways until the next time we ran into each other.
I found out through a Facebook post that Burt had died. With the time and geographical distance no one had a chance to call me or even email me the news. I’m shocked and sad and mad at the universe because I took for granted that I would run into him again or we would talk on Facebook or see each other at the next school reunion. Now, we won’t. That’s what kills me because you always say, “Oh, I should call this person, I should send them an email,” but you don’t because you think that there is always tomorrow. I’m guilty of this all the time with so many of my friends. It’s scary and it’s sad because the truth is life is too short. Pick up the phone now, send that email or that Facebook message, don’t let months go by before reaching out to a friend and checking in, don’t hesitate to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you and that you miss them. Burt was a son, a brother, an uncle and a friend. Don’t let life get in the way, you never know when your last change might be to reach out. To all my friends and family, I love you. I’m sorry if we haven’t talked. Don’t ever forget I love you all and I’m going to try harder.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry that we didn’t keep in touch as much as we could have. I’m sorry that we never made on good on that promise to hang out and catch up. I’m sorry that you are not here anymore. I know that you are safe and with your Mom now, but forgive us down here on Earth because we miss you and we are selfish and wish you would have stayed here with us. Rest easy, my friend. You are loved and never forgotten.