I went to Al's viewing/life celebration Friday night. There were hundreds of people in attendance. I felt like it was a long and grueling process driving more than a hour down the turnpike in rush hour traffic, finding a place to park, standing in a receiving line that stretched all the way out the door, paying my respects to the family, watching videos of Al's younger years, looking at pictures of his older years that included my brother and some other long time friends who were dead or still living to going to the FOP lodge to have one drink with girlfriends I have known since childhood before driving back on the turnpike in lighter traffic to my home and bed where I tossed and turned all night then getting up to go to work being the counselor on site this weekend, conducting three family sessions, completing two assessments on new admissions and teaching one class.
It was weird to have known someone for so many years full of life be reduced to some pictures and cremated ashes in a small wooden box. Al committed suicide by gun shot on October 20th and eight days later we stood in a funeral home saying "goodbye". I originally had planned to attend the mass on Saturday however the day was so long on Friday and with a lack of sleep and knowing I had to work after the mass, I opted out. I paid my respects to his wife, two sons, brother and sisters along with his mother on Friday after working all day then signing papers on the refinancing of my home for a lower interest rate prior to attending the viewing on Friday. I discovered I am not as young and vibrant as I once was. I am tired and drained and getting older though I rather not admit it.
I also made a promise to myself Friday night as I sat in the lodge with old time friends. I promised I would be a better friend. I have become so busy in the day to day life and responsibilities that I do not call or see friends and truth be told I do not just want to see friends at funerals when one of us dies. We get one go around in this life and it is easy to waste it with things that need to be done that take us away from people we care about. How difficult is it to call or text a friend or make plans to see them once a month? What I excel in my profession I lack in friendship.
Shortly, I will get ready for another day at work conducting another family session teaching another class and completing a few more assessments on new admissions before heading down to the city to drop off Halloween cards to grandsons, but I will take time to call and reach out to friends.