Lessons Learned and High School Reunions

Just came back from my 50th High School Reunion!!! It was a wonderful week of celebrations and reacquainting myself with old friends. What an experience!!! We went to an all-girl school and most of us were together from kindergarten to our high school graduation. Our class had only 30 students, so you can imagine. We had the well-behaved, the mischievous, the studious, the fun-loving, the glamorous, the quiet ones, the I couldn’t care less ones, the stylish, the care-free, you name it. Most of all, we knew each other rather well and were on friendly terms…….most of the time.

Attending an all-girl school has advantages that are now being discovered by different studies in American universities. Seems girls who study together have a healthier approach to education, have a higher interest in subjects like science and math and develop self-esteem early in life. Well, apparently our parents knew this and gave us this great advantage!!! Not a shrinking violet in the group, I am glad to report. Five doctors, engineers, writers, business women, nutritionists, university professors, partners in international firms, well-traveled, speakers of several languages…….amazing women each and everyone.

Once we graduated, we went our different ways to study, get married, develop careers and raise families. We gave to our communities, and still do, by working with local charities and spreading goodwill. We have taken care of ourselves and have many years to enjoy what we have sown. Life has been good and this celebration brought together a group of women who are seriously talented and full of life. They have learned from their mistakes, moved on and can now flaunt their successes without shying away.

The Organizing Committee had a year to plan and they did a fantastic job. They even started a chat on WhatsApp to keep us informed of the ideas as they developed. This brought everyone together, before the celebration even started.

Most still live in Panama and have kept in touch through the years on and off. For the ones, like myself, who live abroad it has been harder. So this was a brilliant idea. Here’s to Social Media!!! We immediately clicked again and it was as if time had stood still. All those years melted away and we had so much to talk about, to reminisce, to laugh at and even to shed a tear or two while sharing stories and details of our lives. Let me not forget about hugs……there were more hugs given and received than I could count.

Each activity throughout the 5 days was wonderful. Did I mention that our school was run by nuns? Yes, so the first order of business was attending a special mass, followed by dinner at the Club Union, best one in town. We danced, sang at top of our voices, ate and drank and were merry. Only us girls, as we were all those years ago. Even better, since this time there was no thought of boyfriends or flirting. One day we walked along the cobblestone streets of the Casco Viejo, Panama City’s historical neighborhood. Then dinner, drinks and dancing. The next day, we went by bus to see the works of the new addition to the canal on the Atlantic side of the country. Lunch afterwards. The trip was part of the fun we had that day.

The last day we travel to a mountain resort town, El Valle. Stayed in different homes, got together for dinner, drinks, more singing and dancing and fireworks!!! The next morning, we had brunch with everyone high on the side of the mountain. More hugs and goodbyes, promises to get together again soon. Plans are already in the works. I will not miss any of them for the world. The adventure will continue. Hats off to the organizers for taking time off from their busy lives to make sure our celebration was fun, unique, warm and just perfect!!!

 

 

 

 

Of Friendship and Loss…..

GetAttachmentFriendship, what it means to individuals depends on each individual, but this is one definition we all accept:

noun:

  1. 1.
    the emotions or conduct of friends; the state of being friends.
    synonyms: relationship, close relationship, attachment, mutual attachment, association, bond, tie, link,

    • a relationship between friends.
      plural noun: friendships

I would add that this is one of life’s most important relationships. To have friendship, we need a Friend.  According to the definition, a friend is a companion, soul mate, confidant, alter ego, second self….so you see, each and everyone of us sees a friend in a different way. That is what makes Friendship so important in our lives.

It has been said that Friendship is more enduring than love and having a romantic relationship with a friend almost guarantees it will last. C.S. Lewis once said that friendship has no survival value, except it gives value to survival. How incredibly well said!!! Humans cannot live without friendship, that is a definite fact.

We make friends along the way, as we live. Starting early in life, through school, university….in the places we live, in the clubs we join, in the activities we enjoy, at every stage, if we are lucky, we make friends. They are not alike and we don’t share everything with each one. Of course, we do have a special person with whom we can be ourselves, cry and laugh, swear and pray and be totally ourselves: our best friend!!

One thing I have learned: we can be perfectly happy with just one real friend. The need to have friends for the sake of numbers it’s not important. As we see nowadays on social media: everyone wants to have the most friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter. I am amazed how even people my age, consider this so important….why? I would never know. One is all we really need.

Then there are people that transcend all barriers in Friendship. The ones everyone considers a friend, the ones we can trust unconditionally and consider special. People that by being themselves, giving love and understanding and generously being there when needed are friends to many. The ones we are absolutely sure we cannot do without. Few are lucky to have one of these special people in their lives. My husband and I and many others did.

Arthur Schopenhauer said, Loss teaches us about the worth of things. An absolute truth!!! At this time in our lives, we understand this better than ever because are more aware of our mortality, our impermanence. Loss is always a devastating feeling, but now it is more so. It can makes us feel so alone, empty, even frightened. Coping gets harder as we grow in years.

While Loss means the same to everyone, grief is personal. We deal with it in different ways. There is no good way of doing it, but there is a process we must follow. With time the pain will lessen, but the memories will linger. They will become the balm in our wounded hearts and the smile in our faces, the laughs and the tears. This is reality……

10153284_10153200756850190_1741128049_nAround midnight on March 21st, we received devastating news. Just getting ready for bed, my husband got a phone call from his best friend’s daughter. How do you give this news? how do you prepare for them? Both are impossible, so she just said it: “my father passed away today”. I couldn’t hear the conversation, but I had such a bad feeling when Frankie sat down on the bed. Since he had mentioned her name before, I knew something was terribly wrong.

What can I say about Tony? This wonderful man, loving husband and father, exemplary son, brother, uncle, loyal friend and so much more. He was the friend we all should have, the one people look up to and admire. He was only 63 and we are going to miss him forever.

The fact is: Friendship and Loss are intertwined in our lives. So listen to your heart and remember: do not complain, accept what life gives you and make it work for you, be there for your loved ones, be generous….and laugh!!! Life is good, there are so many wonderful things still to experience and we should enjoy every one of them.