I've been writing a lot on here about things that are pleasing to the eye and ear and so forth, but that's not necessarily real and I don't want to be fake, so, from here on out for a little while I'm going to write about things that are really going on. For instance: friends. I have been having a lot of thoughts on what friends are and what friends aren't and I have also been having a lot of cool experiences lately with friends, family and strangers alike. I've gone on some little vacations here and there, visited friends I saw last semester at Campbell and other friends I haven't seen for years, I've visited old advisors from clubs and old teachers from years and years ago, and I've been involved in some pretty important moments in several people's lives. After all of that, I suppose one of the biggest things I have learned is that presence is extremely important. Being with someone, calling someone, writing to someone and hell, just thinking about someone is sometimes all it takes to make a huge difference in their lives. I called my grandfather a few months ago on a normal day for no real reason. I was just driving home from Campbell, but I felt like I should call him. We talked for almost an hour, about everything from my parent's divorce to my classes at school, and it was one of the best conversations I had ever had with him. Several times, at the end of the conversation when he was getting tired, he told me that he really appreciated my phone call and that it really brought him a lot of peace about things going on in our lives. I told him it had done the same thing for me and that I loved him and appreciated talking with him. That, along with several other moments I have shared with my grandfather in my lifetime, is one of the things I will always remember about him. On July 27th, 2007, after several months in hospital care, my Papa Leslie passed away.
On more than one occasion I have heard several of my friends mention the last conversations, letters and moments they have spent with their loved ones before they passed away. Some of these losses were expected, but most were not. Because of that some of these last moments brought peace and some did not. For me, calling those people important to me and being with them defines a good relationship. These interactions aren't based on fear or guilt, but on love, respect and kindness. I take the time out of my schedule to be with those I care about, whether in a letter, phone call, or personal visit, and that keeps our relationship strong. I think sometimes we all take our relationships for granted: we expect people to call us, not for us to call them. But in my case that wouldn't have worked out well at all. I wouldn't have talked to my grandfather and I would have missed out on one of the most important conversations I have ever had.