Yesterday I went to a visitation for a young man I had never met. He died in an accident ten days ago. His mother and his three aunts were high school friends from over fifty years past. I remember one Christmas Eve where I sat with this family as their mother read the Christmas story from St. Luke’s Gospel.

When my brother died nearly five years ago, DM, the eldest of the sisters came to the wake. Her showing up meant a lot to me.

And I learned Betty Ann, his mother, and the youngest of the four sisters, had suffered a series of mini strokes four days after his death. This is in addition to having Stage IV cancer. I expressed my condolences to her; she remembered me after fifty years.

If you would ask me why I have stayed in my hometown all my life, I think this is why. I’m here to reconnect with my friends when I’m needed.

I just needed to be at this visitation for this boy I had never met.