Continuing on in my Month of Thanks, here is my letter for October 18th.
To Jamie Yenco and Lavenna McCune,
Admittedly, I am horrible with maintaining communication with people not within my immediate, everyday life. This is my flaw. It’s not something I do intentionally, but long-distance communication is something that always seems to get pushed to the side. It does not mean I think of those people less, it simply means that when I am reminded of them, I’m usually in the midst of another task and terrible with procrastination.
There are a few instances over the years that I’ve felt really horrible about not keeping in touch. Instances where I know I’ve let the silence stretch too long and now it’s likely become a point of irritation and hurt feelings.
That’s my fear in regards to the two of you.
Lavenna I knew a little from my time in Iceland, but it wasn’t until Japan that we truly became close. It was a blessing to know someone, to have a friend already in place the moment we arrived in Sasebo, and I hung on to that from our first day there, to the last moments we spent before the journey back to the States.
With Jamie it was different. It was impossible not to like you from the moment I met you. You are one of those people that has an easy way with anyone new to you. You adapt to new people and situations with an ease I only wish I had. I am drawn to people like you immediately. I always have been. I don’t think I’m alone in that experience with you.
The three of us quickly became inseparable. I remember endless weekends spent at each other’s homes, sleepovers we used as excuses for our children to play while we got some much needed adult time. Honestly, I’m not sure who enjoyed those weekends more: us or the kids.
I used to joke that the two of you were my surrogate wives, but really, you so very much were. You were everything a partner in life should be: attentive, caring, willing to put in a little extra work for no one’s benefit but the other person’s. You did so much of that on so many occasions that I lost track.
I was (and still am, to a degree) a horrible housekeeper. Your visits always left my home in better condition than you found it. I know now that those last months in Japan were the start of a nearly disastrous downward spiral for me. I wonder how much of that you could sense, if you knew at all. I wonder if you know how bad things got for me without the two of you there to be the rocks I so desperately needed to cling to.
Jamie knows where I was when I hit rock bottom. There’s a type of unfettered joy in knowing that everything you had is gone. It’s an open road of possibilities. After all, when there’s nothing around you but ruins, where else is there to go but up? I wouldn’t ever suggest the path I walked to anyone else. That sort of kamikaze, screw-it-all attitude is destructive and generally helps no one. There was a draw there, however, and it scared me a little to know what I could potentially be inspiring in others.
More than anything else, though, I feel like I’ve let the both of you down.
As important as you were to me, I’ve let our friendships lapse. Every time I see a photo of your children or a status update from you or your husbands, something inside of me aches. It aches because I miss you and because I worry that I’ve let all of this go unsaid for so long. I don’t expect this letter will cause a frenzy of catching up between us, but I needed to say these things. These things are important. YOU are both important. You were more to me for those eighteen months in Japan than some people will ever be fortunate enough to know in their lifetimes. You were selfless and giving and the best friends I could have ever wished for. You will always be those people to me. I will never be able to repay the wonderful things you brought to my life.
I cannot bring back the years that have passed since we last spoke, but I can offer you my gratitude for the influence you had on me then, and will continue to for years and years to come.
Your Friend in Absentia,