25 years and even months ago, I quietly sat across from John and began our writing journey in the high school library. We would often be head to head reading our handwriting.
There were times we'd question how long we had known one another. And I would be reminded only these last weeks when we had been little children living on the same street only blocks away. I spent time playing, running after the pine cone slingers, the tree climbers, watching the stick hockey in the street. Waistlength red braids spinning helicopters when I thought I was running so fast. All until my mom called me home. And John would be a friend at 4 & 5 years old to offer to walk me acros the busy street at the bottom of the hill.
So, then years later before my graduation, on a day trip to Vancouver, he was there to help choose my dress.
I called him my Brother John. He would then insist that he needed to grow into this title. That he had time to wait before really earning this name.
I am thankful his mom, my friend Janet invited me on a road trip to stay with her family in Surrey. While I was moving back to Salmon Arm from spending a semester studying at Johnston Heights. I believe it was there that I began to knit again. I remember a conversation encouraging me to grow into what I love. And I did. First with motherhood and now in a pseudo profession - knitting + sales manager with a wool company.
John and I had spent short spurts of time together. Moments that have left a lasting impression. Opening up favourite Bible verses in Isaiah, stating our dreams and fears. A letter shared on a day when I didn't want to see anyone, that grabbed my attention.
It was my intense need to hideaway and his insistence to learn why. Not just with a hello or even - how are you. I remember his voice clearly "let me see your face, or I'll write to you, we have 30 minutes." So, how am I sharing his sincere friendship with you here?
It's a yes to those moments when I felt like hiding that we ended up meeting halfway. Softly. Waiting patiently, listening so hard. Compassionate moments.
That our lives intertwined like that is just the most pristine gift. So many years have passed though I've always remembered his Birthday. And really had wanted to reconnect. Because we were more welcome to be ourselves still in different worlds and that is the very best reflection.
He deserves heaps of heartfelt gratitude. Holding so many memories and letters to choose from. This is how I want to remember him.
Life truly works in mysterious ways. Sometimes it seems impossible to understand. Friends are so lifegiving. A bond that is woven in understanding. Within the introspective heart desire to be guided, seen and heard deeply.
The last words I heard him say was at the top of the little mountain on my wedding day 1997. He walked through the forest to the receiving line gave me a hug and leaned into the groom.
"Take care of her...."
So after many days of wanting direction of travelling to our hometown to be at the memorial, I'm sharing with a friend how I'd just like a sign and I'd be more than willing to drive.
We are packing up to leave the restaurant and the server asks if either of us had dropped a small pile of dimes after she had swept.
Well, you both should know randomly finding dimes usually means someone has passed on and is looking out for you.
I went home packed lightly and left late, (all kids were preoccupied with Friday night activity). Driving the night was Quiet. Plowed roads and a smooth drive. Like someone was guiding the entire way. Finally, an honour to be present for a legacy memorial of an incredible man.
Some people leave lasting footprints on your heart. The kind that can take your breath away. I have believed in this heartfelt friendship.
Love You, John.
Until we meet again. 💌 Alicia