I was sat enjoying a cup of coffee and a chocolate croissant yesterday morning. It was a lovely clear day and, for some reason, my mind started to wander and I found myself feeling really sentimental and nostalgic. I suppose it's because Christmas will soon be with us once again, and we find ourselves remembering friends and loved ones who are no longer with us.
Every day, when I wake up, I say "thank you" for all my blessings. For my lovely and loving family, for the gift of friendship, for my health, and my home, and I pray for all those less fortunate than myself.
I've lost three really good friends over recent years, (with others having serious illnesses, but, fortunately, they are now well again) and it really does make you look around and appreciate all the wonder there is in God's world.
My first friend, Diane, developed breast cancer when she was only 42. She fought that very bravely and I shall always remember her wonderful smile. Unfortunately, she then developed a brain tumour and passed away when she was only 47.
I had worked with my second friend, Pat, for fifteen years and we were good friends outside work as well. Her passing was a real shock. I was going on holiday abroad for a week and actually phoned Pat from the airport and we had a long chat. She did say that she had had a terrible headache the night before, but that was all. Anyway, when I arrived back from holiday, there was a message on my answering machine from her brother, saying that she had died the day after speaking to me, after suffering a massive stroke. You can imagine how that hit me at the time.
My third friend, Doreen, I have already written a post about in October. We had been on a wonderful holiday to Dubrovnik less than a year before she died, and she was so healthy and relaxed on that holiday, that it was frightening to see how quickly a person could literally diminish in front of one's eyes.
Gosh, I'm sorry. This post has been a bit maudlin, hasn't it? Anyway, I'm sure that, on Christmas Day, we will all raise a glass to "absent friends".