Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Mrs. B. and Me: the Passing of Friends, Part Two

In the fall of 1999, I went off to Bowdoin, filled with emotion and hope, eager to tackle an expanded world. Mrs. Beaulieau stayed in Machias and continued teaching. This was a normal occurrence. Her contraction of cancer early in the fall was not. Seemingly before I noticed it, she had entered the hospital in a desperate state. I knew of this, but did not contact her. Then, checking my email one day, I learned that she had passed away. My grief and sense of realization were immediate. Though I thought I could live my life at my own pace, life and death stop for no one. My friend was gone, and ours was an interrupted parting, ended without fulfilling resolution. I could speak whatever praise and thanks I wanted, but my words would meet only silence. This was a sobering realization.

I have often thought about my friendship with my teacher and wished that I had better communicated to Mrs. B my great affection and thanks for her. Thankfully, our last shared moments had been happy. With tears in her eyes, she had bidden me goodbye and encouraged me to not lose contact. She was satisfied that graduation day in June 1999, and with good reason. Her charges, well taught, were moving on. Unlike them, it was her duty to stay, not depart. She wiped her eyes, wished us well, and we were off to rafting. I would never see her again.

I know now that I cannot undo what has been done. However, though I cannot go back and tell her of my deep love for God, ignited in college, but I can tell those around me now. I cannot tell her of my desire to pastor a church and write books, but I can work to achieve these ends. I cannot reminisce with her through many happy classroom moments, but I can remember those days. And do that I will.

Once, after a busy day with many extracurricular activities, I found myself stranded at school without a ride. Happily, I chanced upon Mrs. B, still in her room after a long day. Ever brave, I asked her for a ride home. Taken aback, she consented, albeit with a knowing laugh. In the short drive to my house, she and I talked as we often did, with laughter and seriousness mixed together. Then, she arrived at my home, and dropped me off. She left, but the pleasantness of the moment lingered. It still does, and ever will, a testimony to a friendship interrupted but not forgotten.


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12:59 PM  

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